Swindon charity appeals for swimmers to make a splash and save lives

By Barrie Hudson - 24 March 2021

Charity

If you want to get fit and make a splash for needy children then one Swindon charity needs your help.

  • SwimTayka founder Bryan Avery

    SwimTayka founder Bryan Avery

That is the message from SwimTayka, which runs drowning prevention programmes around the globe, teaching children to swim.

It is looking for people to sign up for the annual Thames Marathon, planned for 15 August.

SwimTayka has been chosen as an official charity partner for the event, and has a number of free places to give away. 

Organised by Henley Swim, the Thames Marathon is a 14km long-distance swim challenge from Henley-on-Thames to Marlow, and has become one of open water swimming’s most prestigious marathon swims. 

Keen open water swimmer Bryan Avery, from Swindon, founded SwimTayka in 2017 when he realised just how many young lives are claimed due to drowning.

“In the UK we take learning to swim for granted, but this just doesn’t happen in many countries,” said Bryan. 

“Children living near open water are at severe risk of drowning. In fact, drowning is a silent epidemic that claims an estimated 360,000 lives every year and is the third highest cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. These are wasted lives and preventable deaths.

“During this global pandemic our work has never been more important as people gain respite in open water with sadly not always the skills and safety knowledge they require. 

"We are passionate about drowning prevention and we hope that the incredible swimmers taking on the Thames Marathon will support the cause.”

The marathon is usually a sell-out, but by entering via SwimTayka swimmers can be sure of a place.

People can register for a free place through SwimTayka, and commit to fundraising for the charity, or alternatively purchase a place direct from Henley Swim, but also take the opportunity to fundraise.

With the swimming lakes at Cotswold Water Park about to reopen, there’s plenty of time to train for the event, which, although an endurance event, caters both for fast swimmers and those who swim at a more leisurely pace.

SwimTayka runs programmes in locations as far flung as Mozambique, Peru and Brazil, giving free swimming lessons to children and also teaching them water stewardship, so they learn about looking after the environment. 

Bryan said: “I set up SwimTayka as I am driven to help children in low resource communities around the world, learn to swim. 

"I tried to find a charity that already existed that we could support, but found there was none that focused purely on swimming and giving free lessons. And so SwimTayka was born!”

The charity started with one project in Huanchaco, northern Peru, partnering with an established NGO based there. 

“In just a few weeks we had children confident with techniques to prevent drowning and loving every minute of it," said Bryan. "Their sheer joy at realising they could swim made it all worthwhile.

“But like any charity, we need funds, which is why we are appealing for swimmers who are looking for a challenge, and who want to take part in the Thames Marathon, to book their place through us, and raise money for SwimTayka in sponsorship.”

Thames Marathon Director of Operations Juliet Hume said: “The demand for the Thames Marathon has always been huge. 

"It is an award-winning event with a reputation for offering a challenging, well-organised and beautiful swim. It’s great we can offer places to support this incredible charity.”

For more information about supporting SwimTayka through the Thames Marathon, visit bryan@swimtayka.org">https://swimtayka.org/event/the-thames-marathon/ or email bryan@swimtayka.org

 

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