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Tiny Suffolk village propelled to 'national stardom' with Swimathon success

PUBLISHED: 09:47 04 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:56 04 April 2019

Pupils from Stradbroke Primary School at their Swimathon attempt Picture: STRADBROKE SWIM AND FITNESS CENTRE

Pupils from Stradbroke Primary School at their Swimathon attempt Picture: STRADBROKE SWIM AND FITNESS CENTRE

STRADBROKE SWIM AND FITNESS CENTRE

Swimmers in Stradbroke have once again put their village on the map after going toe to toe with hundreds of UK pools at the year’s Swimathon.

Pupils from Stradbroke Primary School at their Swimathon attempt Picture: STRADBROKE SWIM AND FITNESS CENTREPupils from Stradbroke Primary School at their Swimathon attempt Picture: STRADBROKE SWIM AND FITNESS CENTRE

The humble Suffolk village ranked fourth in the country for participation at this year’s fundraising contest – with 221 swimmers taking to the pool to raise money for cancer charities.

The Stradbroke Swim & Fitness Centre, which claims to stage the UK’s best Swimathon, outperformed hundreds of other pool across the country.

Among the participants were Stradbroke Primary School pupils Nuala, Ruby, Ellie, Ruby and Mollie, who each achieved 2,500m, or 125 lengths.

Meanwhile, nine-year-old Jessica Roberts, who had set her target at 75 lengths, went on to swim 250 lengths – or 5,000m.

George Knapp, who is paralysed, swam 15 lengths, and Nikki Butters completed 250 lengths, or 5,000m, of butterfly.

To follow, 70-year-old organiser Len Phoenix completed his 31st Swimathon, just seven weeks after a hip replacement.

Mr Phoenix said he wanted to thank fellow organiser Maria Smith, who helped “steer this event to national success”.

“It is an immense task,” he said.

“Maria pulls in, and organises a huge togetherness at Stradbroke.”

He added: “The Stradbroke swimmers have trained, set and reached their targets with incredible success. Some went further, from the youngest to the more senior entrants smashing their expectations with some astounding swims.

“Nevertheless Stradbroke’s biggest target is fun and taking part, which was hugely evident from start to finish.”

The national Swimathon, the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim, attracts swimmers from all over the UK, and raises money for charities Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.

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