Val is swimming in memory of her daughter
Val took on the Swim five times from 2006 and 2014 and before this year’s Swim even started was one in the top ten on the fundraising leaderboard
This is the sixth time I have taken on the Aspire Channel Swim, having previously done it five times from 2006 to 2014. I first took on the Challenge in 2008 because I wanted to do something positive to celebrate the life of our eldest daughter Amanda, who had been a keen triathlete and was a very bright biomedical engineer who became a patent attorney. She was bipolar and went on a manic episode and jumped out of a tree breaking her back - she did get better but was in hospital for quite a time. Following delays in her being discharged she took her own life by hanging herself using the apparatus on the hospital bed (she was an engineer after all!).
I can’t cycle or run but I can swim, and this is my way to remember her determination in everything she undertook, especially her career and hobbies, particularly her triathlons.
I took up swimming when the children were training at the Sale Swimming Club. I thought that I might as well join in rather than sit on the side and watch, so I joined the Masters group (that’s older swimmers!). I learnt to do front crawl (after a fashion). When we moved to Milton Abbas, I joined the Milton Abbey Swimming Club and I couldn’t help noticing how fit the older members were.
Keeping fit is why I carried on taking part in the Aspire Channel Swim over the years
Keeping fit is why I carried on taking part in the Aspire Channel Swim over the years, although it has to be said that it can be boring ploughing up and down the lane. However, it gives me time to sort out my thoughts, my to-dos, shopping lists etc – and I think about Amanda.
This year I have a lot of commitments during the period of the swim and noticed that some people had started early so I asked if I could too. This has given me time to complete the swim and not interfere with previous arrangements.
To be successful at fundraising you have to be persistent and it helps if you believe in the cause and can explain to people what Aspire does
I have been asking people to sponsor me via Facebook, email and in person. I find it motivating and challenging to fundraise for a charity with a worthwhile purpose. For anyone struggling with fundraising, don’t be embarrassed about asking – it’s not for you personally, after all. I’ve been surprised by how many people know someone with a spinal cord injury.