Going the distance for a good cause was the name of the game as Belper Marlin’s began their Mega Swim at the weekend. The annual event is aimed at helping a charity within the community and at the same time allowing the children the chance to collect distance badges. In previous years the club has raised thousands for Parkinson’s and Alfreton Special School pool construction. This year it was the turn of a new charity the ‘Heads Up for Callum Campaign’. Callum – a former Marlin swimmer – unfortunately came off his motorbike and sustained life threatening injuries. After many days on the neuro wing of the hospital and several operations he managed, with help from an amazing team of doctors and nurses, to make a full recovery, be that with a few less internal organs. Now all he has to show for it is a scar across his front and back and the cycling equipment that held him together. The charity itself is aiming to raise awareness to the dangers of not wearing the correct gear when on a motorbike and at the same time buy equipment for the neuro-units in our local hospitals, that saved his life.
Over one hundred children from the age of six upwards swam endlessly for an hour with their parents ticking off the lengths. Each length meant a little extra sponsorship money in the pot for Callum’s Campaign. The strength of the Marlin’s was clear as the older swimmers went past the two, three, then four kilometre marks. What was most amazing was the very youngest, who you’d only think could do five or six lengths, ploughing up and down to hit the half mile and mile distances! It was a great effort by all topped off by Callum himself coming down and swimming. With a team of his friends, from the days when he was at the club, he showed that he had not forgotten how to cut through the water at speed. Aiming to beat an individual club record the team were cheered on, tagging each other again and again. They were also sponsored, not only by friends and family but also from class mates and teachers at Belper High School. With four minutes to go the record was smashed and six exhausted swimmers celebrated on pool side.
The whole evening was a great success. Not only did the children receive badges and support a past swimmer but also got to look at his bike equipment and photographs of the ordeal that he went through, which hopefully taught them a valuable lesson for the future. The Marlin spirit was felt throughout Belper Leisure Centre as parents cheered on children and congratulated their amazing efforts. Now all that remains is for the sponsorship money to come pouring in and the ‘Head’s Up for Callum Campaign’ to ask the neuro-units how they want to spend it!
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