Aspire celebrates seven years of open water swimming On Saturday 14th November 2015, Aspire held its annual Swimming Celebration Dinner at the Hilton in Watford to thank and celebrate the amazing fundraisers who have swum for the charity over the years. Aspire has been offering open water swimming events since 2009, which have to date raised a staggering cumulative total of £748,540. Events have been held in Snowdonia, The Lakes, Malta and Turkey, as well as Dusk ‘til Dawn and Night Swims. Over 100 people have swum the Solent, 12 people have swum a Loch Ness relay and 28 relay teams have successfully swum the English Channel. This year, Phil Yorke became only the 12th person to have completed a solo crossing of the Channel swimming breaststroke. The total raised for Aspire from open water swims in 2015 is a fantastic £162,980. 44 people successfully swam the Solent, including our youngest ever participant from Taunton Preparatory School, a team of six swam Loch Ness and 38 successfully complete a Relay Channel Swim. Mementos were given to all the 2015 successful Channel, Loch Ness and Solent Swimmers who had reached their fundraising targets, with special awards given to the top fundraisers for each event: Jan Morse raised £4,264 for her Relay Channel Swim The Crocodiles raised a collective £14,978 for their Relay Channel Swim Jon Pendleton and Toby Sheppard raised £2,460 each for their Solent swim Also recognised were the volunteer boat leaders, without whom we would not be able to operate our Relay Channel Swims each year. The awards were presented by Brian Carlin, CEO of Aspire, Nick Adams (President) and Kevin Murphy (Secretary) from the The Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation (CSPF). Simon Griffiths, editor of H2Open Magazine, also attended. Aspire’s largest swimming event, the Aspire Channel Swim, is currently taking place and encourages people to swim the length of the Channel (22 miles) in their local pool over a 12 week period from September to December. In 2015 we have 4,616 people taking part who have so far raised over £210,000. Find out more at www.aspirechannelswim.co.uk. All the guests enjoyed a delicious three course meal and an inspirational after dinner talk by endurance swimmer Adam Walker, the only British person to have swum the Ocean’s 7 Challenge - the seven toughest long distance open water swims in the world. Adam had some fantastic stories to tell about his adventures, including some dicey encounters with dolphins, jellyfish and sharks! Brian Carlin, CEO of Aspire, comments: “We were delighted that so many of our swimmers were able to attend this event, as it gave us the opportunity to thank them personally. Every eight hours someone in the UK is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. All the money that is raised by our swimmers helps Aspire to provide practical help to spinal cord injured people, supporting them from injury to independence. We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support of all of our committed swimmers, whether they swim the Aspire Channel Swim in their local pool or undertake an open water challenge such as swimming Loch Ness, the Solent or the English Channel.” To find out more about swimming with Aspire please go to http://www.aspire.org.uk/swimming.