On July 13th a group of inspirational local teenagers are swimming the Solent in memory of their schoolfriend Lizzie Murt who died in October 2015, aged 13.
They have already raised more than £2,000 for the Piam Brown Paediatric Oncology and Haematology ward in Southampton, which provides support for children from birth to 16 years and their families. The money raised will provide outings for young cancer patients and their families as well as crafts and activities for teenagers. The charity also provides accommodation facilities for parents so that they experience a home-from-home while caring for their children in hospital – sometimes for several months.
“It’s truly moving and remarkable what Lizzie’s family and friends contribute to this ward,” says Piam Brown charity co-ordinator Rachel Funnell. “The charity pays for things that are over and above the NHS. Without it, families would have a completely different experience.
“This money will make a massive difference. Lizzie’s tribute fund alone funded a completely kitted-out two-bed bay when we did a refurbishment last year. As it’s in Lizzie’s memory we try to fund age-appropriate things such as buying architectural Lego and updating the Jukebox.”
The swimming group started training under the guidance of Lymington Athletes founder Vale Sesto shortly after they came up with the idea themselves in January. They are now training 5-6 days a week in the indoor pool, sea-water baths and open sea.
The first time experience of swimming long distance in the open sea is highly challenging, particularly because of the strong currents and length of time spent in cold water. “ I am excited about doing the swim,” Dougie Benson told us. “But the sea swimming has been hard – when you’re just swimming in one direction for ages and not going anywhere because of the current. Sometimes I find myself going through the plot of Jaws in my head. Our team’s got really close. We help each other swim, always supporting each other and making sure we encourage slower ones.”
They are aiming to do the 2.3 miles from Yarmouth to Lymington in under 3 hours. The group will be supported by a team of local kayakers and RIBs.
Vale has been coaching this group for swimming and running for several years said: “They have always been talented and sporty, but it was not until now, when the idea was theirs, when THEY had to convince us and beg us to do it, that they have become such different children at such a complex time in their lives. When something comes from them they will do it with dedication, responsibility, team-spirit, drive and self-motivation. There’s a lot more to the ‘Snapchat generation’ than we sometimes fear!”
You can support these inspirational teenagers via justgiving:-
Or follow their progress on twitter:
Good luck from everyone at Lymington Athletes!