A WORCESTER student has taken on an epic year-long swim challenge in the hopes of raising £2,000 for charity.
George Bell, a first year paramedic at the University of Worcester, embarked on the mammoth swim in August last year, setting himself the target of swimming 500,000m in 365 days in order to raise £2,000 for Breast Cancer Care.
The 22-year-old has chosen the charity in recognition of the care his grandmother received when she was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 67 and who is now well into remission.
Now at the halfway point in terms of time and distance with 11,000 lengths completed, George said: “So far it’s going well and I’m confident I’ll complete the distance in time.
“I was a very keen swimmer as a child, but fell out of love with the sport in my early teens after competing up to a national level. I started swimming again early last year and enjoyed it so decided then to set myself the challenge of swimming 500,000m for charity. I have a target of £2,000 to reach, so that’s 10p per length.”
Freedom Leisure, which operates Worcester Swimming Pool in partnership with Worcester City Council George by offering him free use of the pool.
James Chaplin, Freedom Leisure centre manager, said: “We are delighted to be supporting George in his swimming challenge and find his commitment and dedication awe-inspiring.
“He is now a familiar face in the water and our members and colleagues have been very welcoming.”
Finding the time to fit in the swimming can be difficult for George who is combining his studies and shifts with the West Midlands Ambulance Service.
“I prefer swimming later in the day when my body is warmed up and ‘awake’ but when I’m on shift, I sometimes have to do an early morning session which I find pretty tough,” said George.
“Freedom Leisure has been great. Since they took over the Worcester Swimming Pool they have given me use of their facilities at no cost which really helps. The pool is very convenient for me and the staff are really friendly and supportive, always happy to chat and they smile when they see me. I feel very welcome at the Worcester Swimming Pool and their support is greatly appreciated.”
George is half way on this distance and in his time but not quite half way in his fundraising so needs some help.
To support George’s Big Swim, please visit www.justgiving.com/gbigswim.