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Maidenhead Lions hoping to hold annual Swimarathon in the summer

The Lions Club of Maidenhead says that it must ‘put people’s health first’ as it started a new year without its showcase Swimarathon fundraiser, which would have taken place last week.

With a third national lockdown halting plans once again for gatherings, the Lions have been forced to postpone the swimming event in the hope that an easing of restrictions and infections can pave the way for a potential 36th event in the summer.

Following a virus-stricken 2020 and much of the restrictions still in place now, The Lions are relying on last year’s mammoth fundraising effort at the 2020 Swimarathon, as well as donations from grant-givers, including the Advertiser’s owner, the Louis Baylis Trust.

This has left the charity in an ‘OK’ position for another year, but secretary Brenda Butler hopes money will soon be made again for the charitable sector.

A date of Sunday, July 4 has been provisionally set for a possible 2021 Swimarathon, however Brenda added this may have to change as the national picture alters frequently.

This year’s event would have taken place on Saturday, January 9 at the new Braywick Leisure Centre.

The Club also holds an annual Duck Derby and usually travels to various fetes with its ‘fun train’ to raise spirits, which it hopes to hold again this year if safe to do so.

“In light of the latest COVID situation, we are even wondering about the feasibility of July, but at the moment that is our plan,” Brenda said.

“It is just in the luck of the gods.”

Despite the pandemic, the Lions have still been busy during the crisis to help provide hampers and treats for vulnerable people and families through its recent Christmas appeal.

Brenda recalls a social worker approaching the Lions asking for a £25 Netflix voucher for a mental health patient living alone.

“The donations committee put their heads together and in the end they gave £45,” Brenda said.

“Apparently this person was so chuffed and made his best Christmas. That was so lovely.”

The Lions have also recruited some new members in their 20s, with Romilly Hryczanek and Lukas James joining the pack. Brenda said that the Lions needed ‘more young people’ and urged others of a similar generation to take part.

Speaking of the Lions financial position, Brenda said: “We are OK for another year from our backlog of fundraising and with the support of various trusts.

“We are very careful, we are eeking the money out.”

She added on the Swimarathon: “We share the disappointment and frustration, but we have got to put people’s health and safety first.”

Visit www.maidenheadlions.org.uk for more information.

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