A staggering £31,000 was dished out to local schools, charities and projects, as the Rotary Club of Grantham presented cheques raised during February’s RotarySwimarathon.
In total, 1,380 swimmers in 230 teams took to the water at The Meres over three days, totting up more than £30,000.
Their kindness and community spirit has allowed 51 causes to benefit, each being handed their cheques by club president Neville Thompson during a special event at St Wulfram’s Church on Thursday.
This year, the focus was on young people, as RotarySwimarathon chairman Roger Graves explained: “We sat down and analysed the event. We have virtually every school taking part; we have scouts, cubs, guides, we have air cadets. In fact, nearly 70 per cent of the swimmers are under the age of 16 and that 70 per cent actually raises 45 per cent of the total raised.
“So we feel that this year we’ll give some of that back to the youth of this town, so they can hold their head high and say, yes we raised something for the community but also something for our own charity/organisation.”
Each year, the Rotary club chooses one particular cause to give a big boost to, and this year it was Sandon School, a special needs school under the Grantham Additional Needs Fellowship.
The club has made the school’s dream of building its own sensory room a reality – by donating a whopping £5,000. Added to the £7,000 the school has already raised, it now has enough to begin the build.
Roger told the audience: “Neville and I visited Sandon School to have a look around. I was absolutely blown away by the commitment of the teachers and by the atmosphere there.”
More than 100 volunteers from the 51 chosen projects were present at the awards ceremony.
Roger said: “Not everybody realises just how many support groups there are in Grantham and I think we would all agree they do a fantastic job – there are many who do such wonderful work and many times without the praise they deserve. So can I ask that the members of the Rotary Club and our guests give a big round of applause for all our unsung heroes here tonight.”
Thanks were given during the night to the many helpers who make RotarySwimarathon possible, alongside corporate sponsors, whose donations cover the £8,000 cost of putting on the event. A special thank you went to six pupils of the Sir William Robertson Academy (SWRA) in Welbourn who volunteered their time at the event.
Roger said: “They swam in the morning, we then gave them lunch, they then lane clicked for two hours. Then we let them take over – they did the photos, they packed the goody bags, they printed the certificates, they did the computer work (and faster than Rotarians); they did everything, including taking over on the microphone as pool manager.”
Five of the pupils also helped out at the presentation evening, in particular James Martin, who acted as co-host alongside Roger.
Many special awards were given out in between the cheques, recognising achievements such as school that raised the most, best newcomer and most raised by an individual team.
Surprise awards were presented to two big supporters of the RotarySwimarathon – retiring National Junior School headteacher Kay Sutherland and SWRA PE teacher Christina Mower, who leaves the school shortly.
Finally, certificates of appreciation were handed by Neville to Grantham-based sports charity Inspire+ and SWRA for their help.
**Awards were given to...
Be Your Best Foundation (Rock Challenge)
Grantham and District Talking Newspaper
Inner Wheel Club
U 2 Can Craft
MS Grantham and Sleaford branch
St Wulfram’s Church choir
Lincolnshire Haemophiliac Group
Huntingtower Community Primary Academy
Grantham and District Fine Arts Society
National Junior School
Kids of Grantham – Belton Lane School
Lynx Swimming Club
Parkinson’s UK, Grantham branch
Grantham Lifesaving Club
Belvoir Triathlon Club
Long Bennington Academy PTA
Barrowby Primary School
Grantham Target Shooting Club
Grantham Carnival and Events Group
Grantham Disabled Children Society
Kesteven Rugby Club, under-14s
Grantham Leisure Support
Grantham Journal Children’s Fund
Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance
Manthorpe Preschool Playgroup
Denton Primary School
Grantham Youth Trust
St Barnabas Grantham Hospice
Contact the Elderly
1st Ancaster Scouts
King’s School’s music department
Artist behind Sir Isaac Newton-themed stained glass window at Grantham Railway Station
St Sebastian’s Primary School PTFA
Jubilee Christian Fellowship
Celebration Active Care Club
Grantham Preparatory School band
Grantham Canal Society
St Mary’s School
Little Gonerby Infant School
Grantham Stroke Association
FACTS AND FIGURES
* February 2017 was the 28th RotarySwimarathon
* The event is organised every year by the Rotary Club of Grantham
* The number of lengths swum was 31,000, which is nearly 500 miles
* There were 1,380 swimmers...
* ...in 230 teams
* The amount collected this year was £35,000...
* ...bringing the total raised over the 28years to £765,255
* Over the 28 years, 4,975 teams have taken part...
* ...made up of 29,849 swimmers...
* ...who have swum 660,238 lengths...
* ...which is 10,260 miles!
* The Rotary club retains 10 per cent of sponsorship to put towards its fund-raising activities throughout the year
* Next year’s RotarySwimarathon February 2-4, 2018
* To take part, register at www.rotaryswimarathon.org from August 1