6 Jul 2022

Swimmers for Miles for Missions Swim

Throughout June 2022, 60 individuals across the UK committed to fundraising for London’s Air Ambulance Charity in the water.

Our Miles for Missions Swim challenge event tasked participants to swim either five or 10 miles between 1-30 June, raising vital funds to help us be there for the 10 million people who visit, live and work in London.

One of the participants was nine year old, Noah, in South Croydon.

“We saw the event advertised on Facebook,” said Marcella, Noah’s mum, “and Noah straight away said he wanted to do it! He’s a very keen swimmer but he doesn’t want to race, so this was a great challenge for him.”

Noah holding a poster to promote his challenge

Noah completed the five miles in June, but isn’t stopping there and plans to reach the 10 mile mark in July, swimming three times a week at Beckenham Swimming Club.

“Sometimes I do 20 lengths just for my warm up!” said Noah. “You can do any stroke, but front crawl is my favourite!”

Marcela said: “We wanted to help Noah feel good about himself, while learning about giving a little and helping others.

"It was a really good thing to do, and so far we’ve raised £200. Next time we’re going to do it as a group with Noah’s swimming friends!”

Another impressive feat was achieved by Ali, a regular fundraiser and volunteer for London’s Air Ambulance Charity.

Ali at the swimming pool

This was Ali’s fifth challenge event for us and instead of five or 10 miles, she chose to swim the distance between the four major trauma centres that our advanced trauma team take critically injured patients to in London – a total of 24.2 miles, or 1,560 lengths of a 25m pool.

Ali said: “Each time I swam, I marked the distance on a map and then posted updates and location pictures of where I had reached. Whenever I crossed the boundary into another borough, I also posted how many missions the team had attended there in 2021, because I wanted to remind people about the crucial work their support funds.

“The swimming itself was definitely challenging after seven years of not doing it and having to relearn front crawl, but our physio at work gave me brilliant advice and my colleagues gave me great support. All in all, it took 34 swims to cover the distance over six weeks. I’m not a fast swimmer, but I went from being out of breath after a few lengths to regularly swimming 50 lengths non-stop.”

Through this challenge, Ali raised over £1,500. During nine years of fundraising and volunteering for us, Ali has raised many thousands of pounds and “been able to talk to thousands of Londoners about the charity, which is important because every conversation has the potential to be the start of a brilliant new story.”

Carrie at the swimming pool

Carrie in Dartford also dedicated a lot of time fundraising for London’s Air Ambulance Charity in this event.

A blue badge holder due to severe back pain, last year Carrie couldn’t walk 100 yards without having to stop in pain. This June, she swam 10 miles in 14 swims.

“Last year I had some injections in my back, and they gave me my life back. I started going back to the gym and found I absolutely love swimming. Now, I’m in the pool every day at 06:30 before work.

“I remember being excited that I’d done 16 lengths in half an hour – now I do 50 lengths in 42 minutes every day.”

We’re so thankful to Carrie for her astounding efforts.

She said: “This challenge was great. The Facebook page for the Miles for Missions – Swim participants is fantastic – it makes you feel like you’re truly part of something. You get so much support from there, it was brilliant.”

At Oasis Sports Centre in the centre of London, a team of swimmers took on the challenge. Joy Murray, one of the swimmers, said: “I saw the swim challenge on Facebook and because I swim a mile a day, I thought I can do that in 10 days!

Swimmers at Oasis pool
Swimmers from Oasis Sports Centre

“But then I thought it would be great to take on the challenge as a team and make a day of it!”

On 17 June, 15 individuals made the dive and altogether swam 20 miles, swimming the first 10 in one hour and five minutes.

“The Oasis pool couldn’t have done enough for the day – we had posters up, collection boxes at the front desk and an exclusive lane for the day. We also had snacks and ice creams, donated from our local Tesco and Hotel Chocolat. Camden New Journal came along and took pictures too, the press definitely helped more donations roll in!

“The event is over now but it’s still the talk of the pool. The air ambulance flew over us last week when we were all sitting on the deck – we waved!

“We’re all still swimming, and thinking of making it an annual event now, with a much bigger target too!”

Overall, the 60 swimmers in this Miles for Missions challenge have raised £8,448. This is enough to fund over three life-saving missions across the capital. Thank you so much to each and every one of our supporters who took on the challenge, we couldn’t save lives without you.

During the summer, we’re running a walk or run Miles for Missions event, challenging people to walk or run 116 miles. Find out more here if you’re interested in taking part. Alternatively, if you missed the swim challenge and want to stick to water, why don’t you consider organising your own swimathon?

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