A dozen New Forest teenagers swim the Solent
Swim in memory of schoolfriend and to raise funds for the Piam Brown Paediatric Oncology and Haematology Ward
They did it! Congratulations to Ava, Delfi, Dougie, Georgia, Hattie, Issy, Maya, Millie, Olivia, Oscar, Sonny and Ted for their brilliant swim across the Solent.
On Thursday 13th July a group of 12 New Forest teenagers swam the Solent in memory of their beloved schoolfriend Lizzie Murt who died in October 2015 aged 13.
Their aim was to swim the 2.3 nautical mile crossing from Yarmouth to Lymington in under three hours - and on the day all 12 children swam the distance in under 2 hours, in spite of the currents, the cold and the wind!
The day started well with interviews with BBC Radio Solent and Wave 105. Speaking to reporters before the event, the team admitted to feeling very nervous. "Hopefully we'll be ok! We'll be watching out for dolphins - and hopefully we won't be near the ferry - if we are, then we've gone wrong!"
The team left the Royal Lymington Yacht Club at 11.30 in a flotilla of boats. The kids started their swim, from Hamstead point at 1.02. Conditions were good - a bit choppy around the middle section - but generally quite calm.
First to finish was thirteen year old Sonny Chamberlain-Hyde, who completed the distance in just 1 hour and 9 minutes!
Then the rest of the team followed, with the last swimmer landing along Beaulieu Shore at 14.59. All of them swam the Solent in under 2 hours, an amazing achievement. The swimmers were then taken by RIB back to RLymYC, where friends and family were there to congratulate them.
A team of kayaks, RIBs and "motherships" with parents and supporters accompanied the swimmers across the channel.
"It's been a very emotional but amazing day," shared Helen Squibb, mum to Georgia. "A big thank you to everyone supporting the swim. The money rased too has been wonderful. It would not have been possible without the support of the kayakers and RIBs so a big thank you for their dedication and effort. To 12 plucky, strong teenagers - just simply - well done."
Well done and congratulations to you all for such an amazing acheivement!
The group have already raised more than £10,500 for the Piam Brown Paediatric Oncology and Haematology ward in Southampton, which cares for children from birth to 16 years. The wonderful staff at Piam Brown helped Lizzie and her family through that desperate time.
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, allowing them to experience a home-from-home while caring for their children in hospital, sometimes for several months.
“The charity pays for things that are over and above the NHS. Without it, families would have a completely different experience,” says Piam Brown charity co-ordinator Rachel Funnell. “This money will make a massive difference.”
The swimming group started training under the guidance of Lymington athlete Valeria Sesto shortly after they came up with the idea themselves in January. They trained 5-6 days a week in the open sea as well as indoor and outdoor pools.
“I am excited about doing the swim,” said Dougie Benson before the swim. “But the sea swimming has been hard – when you’re just swimming in one direction for ages and not going anywhere because of the strong current.”
Valeria Sesto said: “These teenagers convinced us and begged us to do this. 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!”
Ava Robinson (15), Delfi Cosby (14), Dougie Benson (15), Georgia Squibb (15), Issy Moyles (16), Maya Williams (15), Millie Martin (15), Olivia Kerr (15), Oscar Cain (15), Sonny Chamberlain-Hyde (13) and Ted Ward (13) are all pupils at Priestlands School and Hattie Wheeler (14) is at King Edward VI in Southampton.
Any donation you are able to make will be so gratefully received: please visit their Justgiving page by clicking this link: www.justgiving.com/Solent-Swim-For-Lizzie.
You can also text a donation, text: SSFL99, plus your donation amount to 70070.