Stradbroke Leisure Centre staff make a splash in London after Swimathon fundraising efforts

Left to right: Len Phoenix, Duncan Goodhew and Maria Smith at the House of Lords. Submitted picture.
Left to right: Len Phoenix, Duncan Goodhew and Maria Smith at the House of Lords. Submitted picture.

Staff from a leisure centre in Stradbroke found themselves celebrating in the House of Lords thanks to their participation in a national fundraiser.

Swim instructors Maria Smith and Len Phoenix, from Stradbroke Swim and Fitness Centre, were invited to Westminster as the centre has proved to be one of Swimathon’s top participating pools.

We are so proud, not just for ourselves, but on behalf of all the people who take part every year

Len Phoenix

The organisation encourages swimmers to swim a distance challenge and raise money for charitable causes.

With 500,000 swimmers having taken part and raised more than £46 million, Swimathon celebrated its 30th anniversary at the House of Lords.

Stradbroke’s swimming duo were in attendance and met Duncan Goodhew.

Mr Phoenix said: “I have swam 29 out of the 30 Swimathons, and Maria has swam 21.

“Out of 600-plus pools involved each year, Stradbroke’s efforts are in the top five. This year, we rated as the third best participating pool.

“We are so proud, not just for ourselves, but on behalf of all the people who take part every year.

On the importance of the Swimathon, Mr Phoenix added: “It is an opportunity to pull people together for a good cause and provide motivation to keep fit.

“It also gives swimmers a challenge and people are often amazed by what they can achieve.

“Every year, we are blown away by the awesome things that are brought out of people by the Swimathon.”

A spokesman for Swimathon said: “When you think of Swimathon, what it represents, stands for and the positive impact the event has year after year on local communities, Stradbroke Swim and Fitness Centre comes to mind right away.

“Driven by the amazing enthusiasm and passion of the team on the ground there, led by the ever available and energetic Len Phoenix, the work and dedication the centre puts into its Swimathon campaign every year is an example and an inspiration.”