2015 – Disney-Bound 4 Jack

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UPDATE 12th JUNE:

*Thanks to the generous support that we have received thus far ALL funding from here on goes to the 2 wonderful, local Cancer charities below:

Hi and welcome to the latest fundraiser by The Swimming Gardener. Quite simply, I will be swimming in the 3.8km ‘Ironman’ race on June 13th 2015. Not much of a distance granted…. But with BOTH LEGS BOUND & 1 ARM TIED BEHIND MY BACK?
Here is The story behind why I am helping:

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This is 3 year old Jack Weaver from Littlehampton. In November 2013 he was short of breath and his side hurt. In the space of just 12 hours he was Blue Lighted to intensive care in Southampton & diagnosed with every parent’s nightmare Childhood Cancer. Jack had Non- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
From that moment everything in the Weaver family’s life was turned on it’s head and, to this day, as Jack continues his battle with the disease remains so.
Jack has little memory of life without tubes, needles, hospitals, Chemotherapy and endless relapses followed by long stays in hospital.
Jack’s little sister Adelaide, does not know much of a life beyond support for big brother.
So here’s how we as a society can help:
Between Jack’s family, friends and myself, we have raised the money for Jack and co to take for a well deserved break to Disneyland Paris for 5 days. From NOW on, funds raised will go to the 2 following remarkable Cancer support charities:

Clic Sargent – Helping families deal with childhood Cancer together

Tyler’s Trust (gift boxes for children with life threatening illness)

TO DONATE PLEASE CLICK HERE

Once more unto the beach dear friends…

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And so it was at precisely 7am on Saturday 14th I began the journey into the chilly waters of the Sussex Coast to raise as much cash as possible for the Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice and the RNLI.

The idea was my ‘new approach to fundraising’ (Splash4cash) a competition, with a £1000 first prize to apply guesswork and logic to a series of complete unknowns, how far I would swim in exactly 10 hours. The prize money had been kindly put up by Shoreham Vehicle Auctions and Jeremy Silverthorne Fine Jewellery.

And so I set out, towing a large orange buoy or ‘tow float’ behind me with two satellite watches firmly attached. The weather was kind, the one day of the week in which a northerly breeze had flattened the sea somewhat from the usual swell. I had another swimmer, Mike Latham with me for the first part to Littlehampton and we began steadily with two supporting kayakers in tow, on-board were water, sports gels and bananas to keep the fuel in me for the next 5 hours until i could meet the main support boat at Littlehampton for the river swim.

The route was simple, Worthing Pier, to Littlehampton, up to the Black Rabbit at Arundel and then back down to Littlehampton, the idea was how much of the course I covered in 10 hours.

Some 2 hours into the swim I began to experience the excruciating cramps which tend to come in the right leg after last years major blood clot in the top of the thigh, I had to swim back to my depth to stand briefly to eradicate it.

5 hours after setting out and the hardest and most dangerous section had arrived, entering the harbour at Littlehampton AGAINST the current. I knew before hand that there would still be water coming out for around 90 minutes and that this section meant going nowhere fast. One of our young swimmer friends, Nathan Abbott had arranged to come out to bring me a pair of short fins for the harbour entrance section, getting them on in the water without my legs cramping proved both painful and difficult, but after some effort, they were on. After an Oat bar, a banana and a sachet of sports gel with extra caffeine for a boost the assault began, if I were to stop briefly in this section then I would be swept back at around 5 metres per second, I had around 1km to do before I could feed again in the relative calm eddy in front of the RNLI station upriver. As well as the dangerous currents, I had to negotiate the harbour wall covered in razor sharp mussels and cockleshells, but keep as close to it as possible to minimise the currents effect. After what seemed a lifetime and a lot of encouragement from Jim Mahoney in the kayak, I made it to the RNLI station, having inched forward for what seemed like an eternity.

The support boat had been with me since the harbour mouth with my long suffering wife Jacqui and daughter Ashlena on-board and we continued upstream waiting for the tide to turn, for the magic ‘slack water period’ and the following rocket propulsion up to Arundel, but it failed to happen. Not helped by the heavy rainfall overnight, the water was still pouring into my path (I was hypothermic by now as I had been in for 7 Hours). I had to keep the fins on as by this stage my whole right leg was locking up every so often and having the power to tread down with some resistance was the only way to normalise it briefly.

Finally I battled to Ford, with just under 90 minutes remaining and the river finally began to turn. I was determined to reach Arundel so took on some hot coffee, more gels and shot off for the final push to Arundel. Just before the road bridge of the A27, I handed the Satellite watches over to the boat so that they could be stopped bang on the 10 hour mark. Jacqui and Ashlena counted down the remaining ten seconds and we stopped the timers just past the bridge. Job done. I hardly had the energy left to climb into the boat, but somehow managed to haul myself in to be wrapped in blankets and duvets for the journey home. Today (Sunday) I am exhausted and needless to say my shoulders and arms are very tender but i am elated at completing the task.

The final distance was 23,410 metres, although data showed because of the current I had to swim 30km or just under 19 miles. The winner of The £1000 (Dave Priest of Tuff Fitty Triathlon Club) has donated half of the prize straight back to the charity which was unbelievably generous of him!

The total raised thus far stands at just under £5000, and donations are still being received by well-wishers bringing my total to date to around £28,000 for good causes over the last few years. I’m having a year off but will be back in 2015 with a new and far crazier idea that I am working on….
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The Last Few Days!

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Just a few days left until the big Splash4Cash (Sept 14th)!

Well I have been hard at it both in and out of the water to make this swim a unique success, and I have to be honest, this has been an exhausting campaign! To date, we have managed to raise just over £2000 and I am hoping that if everyone is true to their words, then much more to come! The £1000 prize fund is a HUGE carrot to dangle, so once again, a big thanks to Shoreham Vehicle Auctions and Jeremy Silverthorne Fine Jewellery.

Training:

The last few weeks has been busy preparing for the big splash4cash, with training cut to just two long swims per week (due to an on-going tendon injury in the arm), it has given me more time for targeted fundraising, blogging and tweeting away! I have carried out Worthing to Littlehampton swims, Goring to Worthing Swims, swims on the Isle of Wight, swims to Ferring from Goring, in fact swims everyplace I can think of. This has been particularly hard for me this year as my health regarding the DVT in my right thigh is still not back on track and fatigue sets in routinely while my body repairs the damage from the blood clot.

One unique problem which we will face on the day is entering the harbour at Littlehampton when the tide is still on the way out. On 24th August at the crack of dawn I attempted this on one of the biggest tides of the year and got a swift lesson in who’s boss. Suffice to say the river won and I spent a great deal of time swimming against a wall of water going nowhere fast! Fortunately on Splash4cashday, the tide is much smaller and the latest attempts have proved that on the day it will be easier to manage, with very little progress for a while… I’m am so pleased to announce that the amazing Mr Nick Tree from the Littlehampton Action Boat will be supplying the escort boat on the day for me, I am so grateful for his help.

Remarkable experience with ‘Boris’ the Seal:

On Sunday 1st September, I set out with my swim buddy Mike Latham from the Littlehampton Swimming centre to practice swimming into the harbour. I had a slight leak in the right goggle lens so stopped to adjust it. On turning round, I had the fright of my life to see a large black bull Seal a few yards behind me, head poking out of the water. I yelled to Mike, but he could not hear me and carried on. I swam a few yards closer to Mike in time to see the seal roll over and shoot off into the murky water. This time I got Mike’s attention with a great deal of swearing and we both stopped to watch the seal (Boris) and Boris watched us from a few feet away.

I have to say we were both pretty nervous (we were after all in his environment and they can be known to take a bite of a ‘rival’). Boris continued behind us (pretty unnerving) for about 20 minutes, managing to swim under Mike and one point nudge my leg (Or nibble, I can’t be sure which!) Boris evidently became bored or hungry, and returned to the shallows, but the experience was without doubt one of the most remarkable and unnerving of my swimming career to date!

Fundraising:

I’m pleased to announce the arrival of some wonderful donations recently, with the likes of D&A Motors,Raw Energy Pursuits, Active Pump Services, Rabbit Group, The Build Works and JXP Consultancy (among many others and individuals) which has seen the appeal go over the £2000 with plenty of pledges yet to come. Businesses will get Linked advertising on the Swimming Gardener Website for 2 years, as well as a chance to enter the Splash4Cash. The Swimming Gardener brand is certainly starting to get about now, I had a spell on the BBC Sussex Breakfast a few weeks back in which I had a chance (among other things) to talk about the swim, and on Monday September 16th, 9.00pm, Skyliving will appear in an episode of ‘Fat The Fight Of My Life’ with  American Fitness Guru Jessie Pavelka.

The BBC Interview can be heard here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzbYym5vI0s

Help for the Charities:

I am once again humbled by the level of support received, and as you are aware, I am swimming this year again for The Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice and 20% goes to the amazing organisation of the RNLI. My motivation for the Chestnut Tree House, is to help them help those families who are perhaps not as fortunate as you and I, I can barely imagine the pain of losing a child or young adult, and the work that they do on behalf of all of us is beyond my comprehension.

Likewise, the RNLI are the only emergency service who put there lives on the line every time they are called, and is entirely voluntary, so please dig down, dig in and give me the chance to let you win £1000 whilst going to bed with a warm glow from having helped!

And now the important bit: (and the £1000 carrot!)

I am working my backside off to make this one a success, because I believe this is a great template for future events, remember, EVERY PENNY COUNTS, your bit really is the easy one, I’ll do the hard work and that is a promise!

To enter (and you can enter as many times as you like) click here:

http://www.swimminggardener.org.uk/splash-4-cash-2/

OR if you wish I can arrange to collect a cash donation and your guesses.

Best regards and thank you in advance for your help,
Steve & Boris (07973) 662772.

On the home straight!

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With the Splash4Cash just over 2 weeks away, funds are starting to come thick and fast with this campaign netting over £1600 to date, but I feel there is a lot to come! The Splash4cash launch night raised over £400 and a special thanks is due to the Fish Factory for a great evening and superb food!

There have been several articles and interviews to date, I had an interesting one on BBC Sussex Breakfast recently, which you can listen to here!

Training is now two long sea swims per week and plenty of practice for the hardest part of the Splash4cash, namely getting into the harbour mouth at Littlehampton whilst going nowhere fast!

Please please, check out the sponsors page here to see the wonderful businesses whom have chosen to support us to date, and do take a crack at the £1000 title! As they say in the Lottery… it could be YOU!

 

Steve

Friends of The Swimming Gardener Launch Dinner! (Splash4Cash)

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SG Splash Launch Night Poster

This is fairly self explanatory,  but the amazing and energetic Paul Searle has organised a charity night on July 11th (at the Fish Factory, Littlehampton) and tickets are limited but still available! £15 per ticket with £5 going to the Chestnut Tree House. Some amazing raffle prizes too! For tickets, contact Paul Searle on 07808 509142 see you there I hope!

Steve

 

Splash 4 Cash The first few hours

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What a great start to the Splash 4 Cash, tweets from British Swimming, World Open water Champ Keri-anne Payne and Blueseventy meant that it was quickly broadcast to tens of thousands.

In the first day over £150 has been raised with many more pledging to sponsor me and have a crack at the £1000 prize!

Two of my customers, new to the area held a garden party for friends and contractors as a thank you for helping them get settled, and were kind enough to suggest donations to all of their guests.

So bless you Hazel & Beryl and welcome to the area!

Tomorrow sees the River Arun Ironman swim at Littlehampton (12.00pm), so it’s an early night before a bout of underwater boxing in the river!

Thank you & Keep sponsoring

News Flash

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Announcing the arrival of  ‘The Swimming Gardener’s Splash 4 Cash’

New for 2013 a unique chance to help the life limited Children of  Sussex and as a bonus…. win £1000 of hot wonga! Details to be announced shortly, watch this space!

The Swimming Gardener USA!

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The Swimming Gardener is going to New York!

I am very excited to be taking part in the New York ‘Little Red Lighthouse Swim’ on 22nd September 2012. This is a 10km Marathon Race in the Hudson and training is now full on to post a good time (for a charity swimmer!)

Over the coming weeks in the run up to the Swim, I will be contacting people whom I hope will help me to get the message for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust out there to the generous people of the United States.

If you would like to help with fundraising or need more information on exactly where the money will go and how it will benefit Cystic Fibrosis sufferers worldwide, then please email me, swimminggardener@btinternet.com

A new challenge

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Hi friends, I trust this finds you all in good health, and I am sure many of you wondered if you would hear from me again… well, I survived last year and thanks to you we raised just shy of £15,000 for the Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice.

Retirement?
Quite simply, NO! The 15 mile swim last year caught the attention of Arun District Council, who humbled me with a Chairman’s Community Hero award and during the introduction speech pointed out that they were watching with all eyes what I would be up to next. So there we go, The Swimming Gardener is a successful proven brand for community fundraising so I am here to stay!

Steve White and Ashlena

Me and Youngest daughter Ashlena with the Community Hero Award.

Which Charity This Year?
I am for 2012 only, fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I personally know two families affected by Cystic Fibrosis, and the CF Trust has battled for years to help extend and improve the lives of the people who are born with CF.As we speak, and largely thanks to the wonderful work of many hundreds of people involved with the CF Trust, a gene therapy trial is taking place which could in future provide a cure for the condition.

For more information on the vision that the CF Trust has and how your money will be spent, click below:
http://www.cftrust.org.uk/aboutus/CorporateStrategy2011online.pdf

What I will do for your money?
I will aside from training, swim nearly 70km for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust I have organised and entered the ‘Eight Swims of Hell’, in rivers, lakes, the Sea, and ending in September  with a 10km race in NEW YORK (self funded I hasten to add). I have already set my fastest time for the annual Swimathon 5km (1 hour 24 minutes), and May 26/27th I will be swimming in the Great London swim (currently 12 degrees) for one mile, and the FOLLOWING day a 10km, 3 hour race in Dorney Lake Eton (Also 12 degrees).

The cool spring has left water temperature well below average, but from past experience the more I shift out of my comfort zone, the more money I seem to raise. These are going to be extremely difficult swims, I can only describe the cold as being like eating Ice cream non stop for 3 hours, extreme brain freeze.

How can you help?
Let’s cut to the chase, the whole point of the gruelling training, the events, the admin and the travel is for one objective, to raise as much money as possible for those with the rough end of the stick. I was stunned at the way the community backed me last year and it has made me more determined than ever to continue but I can only do it with your help.

Read this from Nicole Allen, I was lucky enough to meet Nicole and family at The Great London Swim last year. Nicole describes what it is like suffering from CF:

Nicole Allen

“I try not to let Cystic Fibrosis rule my life but it’s very much part of my everyday life and I can’t ignore it because my health would suffer.

I know my priority has to be to keep up my routine of medicine, treatments and appointments to keep well and then I can enjoy my hobbies as much as possible. I’ve tried to choose hobbies that help my health and add to my physio routine.

Nicole Allen

I’m quite well at the moment but to stay like this my daily routine includes:-
2 physio sessions, 3 nebulisers, 4 puffers, 46 tablets, 3 lots of food supplement, 3000 calorie intake & 40ml liquid meds.

Last year I also had an episode of diabetes which CF people are prone to. Luckily I have stopped my insulin injections for now but will probably have to return to them when I need steroids again”