Selfless fundraisers to make a splash for Parkinson's research by swimming from Gosport to the Isle of Wight

A GROUP of selfless swimmers is set to brave the water between Gosport and the Isle of Wight to raise funds for Parkinson’s research.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 4:45 pm
The Positively Parkinson's team who will be swimming from Gosport to the Isle of Wight. Picture: Cure Parkinson's

The Positively Parkinson’s Solent Swim Challenge will take place on Sunday, September 5, having been postponed previously due to the Covid-19 pandemic and adverse weather conditions.

All cash raised by the 12 participants – who will swim 5,000 metres from Gosport to Ryde – will go towards the Cure Parkinson’s charity.

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It comes as part of a set of two swimming fundraisers that includes a 5k swimming pool challenge, which participates can complete over a period of four months.

So far sponsorship for both has raised £35,000 out of a £40,000 goal.

Helen Matthews, the deputy chief executive officer of Cure Parkinson’s, said: ‘We are so grateful to Peter, Vicky and all involved in this incredible swim challenge.

‘Fundraising support through events like the Positively Parkinson’s Swim Challenge is absolutely critical for us to achieve our goal.’

All swimmers taking part in the Solent Swim Challenge have some personal link to Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition, which involves the loss of dopamine producing cells in the brain which controls movement and mood. While it is a lifelong progressive disease exercise, including swimming, plays an increasingly important part in the treatment of the condition and compliments medication.

Team leader Vicky Knight said: ‘We have safety support and medical backups to make sure that everybody swims across safely.

‘It’s not a relay and everybody is aiming to do the full distance. We’ll start with the slowest swimmers, then medium then the fastest, and the aim is that all the swimmers will be together when we cross the busy shipping lane.’

Team leader Peter Burns: ‘Exercise is key to helping live well with Parkinson’s, and swimming is something I know a little bit about. Many years ago, as a 12 year old I swam the English channel in a team relay.

‘When I met Vicky, she was organising a Parkinson’s Awareness seminar, and I told her about this swim. We then decided we needed a challenge.

‘Something she’d always wished to do was swim from the mainland to the Isle of Wight, so we decided to get a team together and take this on to raise money for Cure Parkinson’s.’

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