Jane and I spotted the advert for the Aspire Channel Swim in Slimming World magazine and our interest was sparked to take part.  To be able to raise vital funds to support spinal injured people and get fit at the same time was a no brainer.  Over the last 10 years we have both suffered redundancy, the loss of close family members and have piled on the pounds, losing interest in sport and generally becoming much less active.

 Wendy and Jane in swimming costumes

Jane and I have been best pals since first working together in 1992 and are more like sisters. We share the same hobbies and interests and daft sense of fun!  With both of us being on a weight loss journey, the swimming has really helped to get a routine going and gives a sense of purpose to our training.  We typically swim five sessions a week, mixing evening lane swims with a couple of midday ones over the weekend followed by a lovely steam room session as a treat!

We hadn’t been swimming in years so when we finally took the plunge for Aspire, we were amazed at how good swimming made us feel. We find all the stresses of everyday life melt away in the pool and you just focus on the moment, it’s really quite empowering. We have both found that our mental health has improved and we are much fitter. 

Taking part in the Aspire Channel Swim has rekindled our love of swimming and it is now a huge part of our lives.  We started the challenge on August Bank Holiday Monday and have been gently chipping away at the distance, growing stronger each week and really feeling the benefits in our fitness. Being part of a team is really helpful as we can encourage and nudge each other when we’ve had a tough day and need that little extra push to get to the pool.

Jane was already on her Slimming World journey but I joined in August this year. We go to Freedom Leisure Centre in Lymington, Hampshire, in the beautiful New Forest.  Through our challenge and the healthy changes brought about through Slimming World since August we have lost an incredible combined total of almost three stone.  We are currently within three miles of reaching France and are extremely proud of our progress. Swimming is now a part of our daily lives and will remain so, alongside our new healthy eating habits.

I have been a type 2 diabetic for over 10 years but recently received the rather incredible news from my practice nurse that if I continue to carry on with my new way of life, reach my goal weight and continue with my new healthy lifestyle thanks to the swimming and Slimming World plans, I could most probably be medication free within the next eight months or so.  Taking part in the Aspire Channel Swim really has been life changing.

With the support from friends and colleagues at Gill Instruments where we work, so far we have raised an impressive £340 but we have found the fundraising to be a challenge in itself.  We are not that familiar with social media, so have relied heavily on the help and wonderful support of our work mates and phone contacts. I bought some of the Aspire t-shirts, downloaded some sponsor forms and went with a clipboard and a smile at work asking people if they would like to support us. I popped a poster up in the canteen and have been giving weekly updates.  The response has been really positive, even in these tough financial times, which has been quite humbling. Telling people we are swimming 1,416 lengths in a 25m pool seems to be the clinching fact!  Our tips on fundraising would be to smile, make eye contact and ooze enthusiasm, learn some facts about Aspire and start to look much smaller and different to the photo on your name badge and the funds will be winging their way to Aspire in no time at all!

Wendy and Jane wearing Aspire Channel Swim and Slimming World t-shirt

You never know what life has in store for us. Accident, injury or illness could affect anyone of us at any moment and we could end up being told the news of a life changing spinal injury. It’s important for people like us to continue to raise awareness and raise vital funds for Aspire because an accident, injury or illness could affect anyone of us at any moment.

Dream it, believe it and SWIM IT for Aspire. Your support, however small, can make a real difference to those with a life changing spinal injury.

Sponsor Wendy and Jane

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