Suffolk: This year’s Great East Swim on June 21 launched by Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley in Ipswich

Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley launching the Great East Swim 2014 in Ipswich

Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley launching the Great East Swim 2014 in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley visited Ipswich town centre today to officially launch one of East Anglia’s biggest sporting events, the Great East Swim.

The TV soap beauty, who plays Eva Price, met some of those who will be participating in the swim while getting a look at a chalk artwork next to Giles Statue depicting a waterway.

Catherine, who used to swim for Salford, will be taking part in as many of the Great Swim events as possible.

“Swimming is one of the best things you can do in terms of toning and cardiovascular work,” she said. “This is a great way of giving yourself a goal to work towards and goal-setting is really important. There is something for everybody, so even if you’re not a great swimmer half a mile is not very far at all, it’s 32 lengths of a 25 metre pool. It is very doable.”

Alan Murray, cabinet member for health and adult care at Suffolk County Council, said the numbers of participants in the event was increasing year on year.

“It’s all part of getting people more used to doing some exercise, not necessarily aggressive exercise, but some exercise,” he said.

“We’re trying to increase the profile of sport and exercise in general, and also making it a useful thing for children to do, because if you get children interested in sport and exercising at an early stage then it makes a significant difference to the rest of their lives.”

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Among those taking part in this year’s swim are Philip Unwin, from Newbourne, an IT project manager for Willis insurance, who is using the swim as part of his triathlon training in a bid to return to full fitness after suffering a heart attack.

He is taking part in Suffolk County Council’s and Sport England’s over-50 programme alongside Yvette Gallagher, business development officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, who is taking part after having a mastectomy in July last year.

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