Tag Archives: Charity

Swimming for Sport Relief

A couple of days after the event I’m still aching yet I’m incredibly proud of swimming 5k for Sport Relief. It was a challenge but it all took place in a friendly atmosphere and was actually a fun swim. All 200 lengths!

I wasn’t sure what to expect on Sunday. I’d panicked myself that on the day everyone else would be a professional swimmer and I’d be the equivalent of a man in a rhino costume at a marathon. But it was all so relaxed and casual. All of us that were swimming would chat to one another and the staff had plenty of encouraging words. My family also sat and watched me for well over two hours which was the best bit of support.

In my session most people did shorter distances so at points I had the pool to myself, which was so much fun. I went at my own pace and got to enjoy being the only one in a massive pool.


When I first came up with the idea I thought I’d swim most weeks in preparation and have a strict regime, gradually improving until the big day. In reality I commute most days and work shift patterns which gym opening hours don’t tend to take into account. Also sometimes I wanted to sit on the sofa and watch TV rather than head to the pool.

So to be honest I didn’t do a full 5k in the month up to my swim. Thankfully after doing the first 40 out of 200 lengths I knew I was going to do it. It’s strange to explain but it felt quite calming rather than daunting.

There’s a few standout moments (apart from finishing – of course) which include getting to 100 lengths I went back to counting from one to try and pretend I’d just started swimming. Also there was music playing at the pool and I very noticeably sped up when David Bowie’s Heroes came on.

I’m very pleased that my friends and family supported me in all sorts of ways. Between us we’ve raised around £300 for charity. I mean I’m no Eddie Izzard with his 27 marathons in 27 days but I’m quite proud of myself.

My charity swimathon

Well… I’ve decided to try doing something a bit different. One Sunday in March next year I’m going to swim 5k (in one go) for charity.

Ponds Forge Photo: Jason Parrish
Ponds Forge Photo: Jason Parrish

I’ve never been that sporty but since living near Ponds Forge in Sheffield I’ve had less excuses. So about two years ago I started lane swimming, something I hadn’t done for about ten years. After a few sessions and realising that I was actually doing doggy paddle rather than a stroke I started to get better.

I’m still nowhere near professional, but now when we go on holiday we tend to go somewhere with a pool. On this year’s break I started doing about 3k every day and getting into a nice rhythm. So I looked up swimming challenges and signed myself up for one, knowing that I wouldn’t have to make the final decision until the end of the year.

Earlier this week I finally got the email about registering. After being enticed by half price entry for early sign up and a few encouraging words from friends I decided to go for it.

It’s a long distance, I’ll be doing 200 lengths in the pool on the day. I guess the next step is figuring out some sort of training regime, I might even come up with a target time.

As I’ve mentioned it’s for charity – this particular event is a Swimathon event held at Ponds Forge all in aid of Sport Relief. If you’re interested here’s a link to my sponsorship page.

Currently I’m a bit shocked, and distractedly thinking it’s still about four months away. I’m also aware that it’ll no doubt come up really quickly.

Cooking to save lives recipe book

Excitingly one of my cake recipes has been published in a local recipe book.

Me and Sam Pidoux posing with our recipes | Photo: Sam Pidoux

The Cooking to Save Lives book has been published by the Lincolnshire based first aid charity Lives. Over a couple of months they collected recipes from local restaurants, cafes and people to create this guide to the county’s food.

Back in the summer Steve Hyde from Lives visited Siren FM to talk about what the charity does and to explain their project. Essentially Lives need to fundraise almost a million pounds a year to keep running and Steve thought a recipe book would be a good way to raise some money. He approached Chris Strawson, who works for local printing company DPS Printing, and he had the idea to fill the recipe book with dishes from restaurants and cafes from around the county.

You can listen to that interview on Food for Thought from last summer here.

It was after that meeting that Sam Pidoux, who regularly helps out on Food for Thought, came up with the idea to submit some of our own creations to the book. Sam came up with gluten free chocolate brownies made using beetroot as one of the ingredients so the pressure was on to come up with something good.

Usually when I am baking I will follow recipes but I couldn’t submit someone else’s recipe and pretend it was my own. There was one cake that I had come up with myself for my Dad’s birthday. He loves those chocolate and lime sweets and I wanted to use those flavours in a cake. After some experimenting with how to use lime in cakes, I created a delicious chocolate and lime marble cake. The recipe was different and something special to me so I thought it was a good choice for the book.

In early December Lives and DPS Printing held a party at the Electric Bar in the centre of Lincoln to celebrate the launch of the book. It was my first chance to see the book and I was very impressed. It was great to see people interested in my cake and to see all the other dishes that were in the book.

You can pick up a copy of Cooking to Save Lives from a few local cafes and restaurants including Angel Coffee House, Burton Road Chippy and The Old Stables. Alternatively you can buy the book online as well on the Lives website.