A Hertfordshire-born Paralympian has called on residents to partake in a charity Swimathon.

The event - raising funds for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie - will take place at 450 pools across the UK, including those in Harpenden, Hatfield, Hitchin and St Albans.


Ware-born ParalympicsGB swimmer Grace Harvey is the current 100m breaststroke SB5 world champion.

Harvey also won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke SB5 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and added a silver in the 100m breaststroke SB6 at the Commonwealth Games last summer.

She said: "There are so many reasons why people should get involved in Swimathon, not just for themselves, but for the amazing charities.

"The money raised is crucial. It goes to finding new cancer treatments and giving people quality end of life care.

“On an individual level, it’s allowing people to reconnect with being active again.

"That’s why I hope as many people as possible across Hertfordshire will show their support and sign up.”  

The event will run from May 12 until May 14, at the following centres:

  • Harpenden Leisure Centre, Leyton Road, Harpenden
  • Fanshawe Pool and Gym, Park Road, Ware.
  • Hartham Leisure Centre, Hartham Common, Hertford.
  • Leventhorpe Pool & Gym, Cambridge Road, Sawbridgeworth.
  • Hatfield Swim Centre, Lemsford Road.
  • Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, Rye Street, Bishops Stortford.
  • Hitchin Swimming Centre, Fishponds Road, Hitchin
  • Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre, Park Road
  • Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, Holywell Hill, St Albans
  • Watford Leisure Centre Central, Peace Prospect, Watford

Those who cannot make the event can sign up to 'MySwimathon', which takes place between April 28 and May 21.

Elisa Mitchell, a spokesperson for Cancer Research UK in Hertfordshire, commented: “It doesn’t matter if you’re not the fittest or the fastest, everyone who takes part in Swimathon is worthy of a medal.

"It’s such a fun and simple way to encourage people to get swimming – all while supporting causes which are close to the hearts of so many.   

"From proving the link between smoking and cancer to laying the foundations for modern radiotherapy – our scientists have been at the forefront of cancer research for 120 years, and we’re not stopping now.

"That’s why we’re urging swimmers to grab their caps and costumes, raise money and help us to keep making new discoveries and breakthroughs."

Marie Curie's director of community fundraising, Jayne Waterhouse, added: “Swimathon is an iconic event in the Marie Curie calendar and one we all look forward to every year.

"The exciting and inclusive challenge sees thousands of people take the plunge with sponsored swims up and down the country, whilst raising money to help Marie Curie support those affected by terminal illness.  

“The money that Marie Curie receives through Swimathon fundraisers goes towards helping our nurses, bereavement counsellors, and support line staff to deliver vital care and support to people with a terminal illness and their families across the UK."

Further information can be found on the Swimathon website (www.swimathon.org).