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Community rallies for uplifting Swim for Tom

January 13th, 2020

The Monmouth community joined together as more than 500 people took the plunge in an uplifting swimathon in memory of a kind and caring teenage boy.

Swimmers of all ages and abilities pushed themselves to the limit at the second annual Swim for Tom which this year has so far raised more than £12,000 for Cancer Research Wales.

The main 12-hour event took place in the pool at Monmouth School for Girls on Sunday 12th January from 9am to 9pm.

Some swimmers, including Olympian Tom Haffield, completed lengths at other venues across the region which all contributed to the tally.

“The final count is 37,519 lengths or 938km or 937,975m or 583 miles by more than 500 swimmers at five different events,” said Tom’s dad, Tim.

“It is pleasing that Swim for Tom is such a feel-good community event.

“Swim for Tom is about competing with each other to reach a single goal and not against each other. Many people of all abilities pushed themselves to swim further than they had ever done before, including many beginners.”

Tom was a pupil at Monmouth School for Boys and a member of Monnow Swimming Club.

He died unexpectedly and suddenly from leukaemia in June 2018, aged 13.

Since Tom’s death, his family – dad, Tim; mum, Debbie; and sisters Holly and Emily – have led efforts to raise more than £100,000 for a research fund, supported by his friends, and the community.

The inaugural Swim for Tom raised more than £25,000 for Cancer Research Wales 12 months ago.

And the Cancer Wales PhD Studentship for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Research was officially created in his name last year and will be awarded in the next few weeks with the researcher starting in September.

Children at Monmouth Schools Pre-Prep and Nursery got this year’s Swim for Tom underway, chalking up almost 500 lengths on Friday afternoon.

Members of Monnow Swimming Club, parents and friends then took part in their leg, notching up 4,070 lengths, with one swimmer, Rhys, compiling 162 lengths in an hour.

There was a remarkable atmosphere at the main event in Monmouth on Sunday – with an army of volunteers and helpers across the 12 hours making it such a memorable occasion.

One of the highlights was achieved by Miss Lou Scott, who had flown in especially from her new home Italy and swam for most of the day, amassing an outstanding 406 lengths.

Tim said: “A huge thank you to a magnificent team of helpers, to Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools and their staff, to Monnow Swimming Club, to all the lifeguards, to all the swimmers, to everyone who donated money and to an army of cake bakers.

“We are also very grateful to Monmouth-based business, Mandarin Stone, for their generous hat sponsorship and to Dylan, a 13-year-old pupil at Monmouth School for Boys, for creating the Swim for Tom website, which made the administration of this year’s event so much easier.”

For more details about the event – or to make a donation, please visit the Swim for Tom website: www.swimfortom.uk

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