A local resident is hoping to raise money for two charities by completing a sponsored swim just 12 months after attending his first ever adult swim lesson.
Alex Langley, aged 55, decided to take up swimming lessons in January 2015 after becoming fed up with missing out on fun events on holiday and to fulfill a lifelong dream of taking confidently to the water.
Having researched different adult swim lesson providers, Alex got in touch with Sefton Council and after a short time on the waiting list began attending weekly lessons at Bootle Leisure Centre.
Alex said: “Swimming is something I have always wanted to be able to do but the longer time went on the less confident I became in being able to take up the skill. Most people tend to learn at school but I found that there wasn’t much emphasis placed on swimming during my childhood and it was a case of you either took like a duck to water or you were left in the shallow end to your own devices.
“I spent the first three months getting to grips with being in the water and moving around with the aid of a float. The classes were fantastic and the coaches really helped me along, giving me pointers and tips as I progressed, eventually with the help of a little trick using a bucket I managed to start swimming unaided.”
Once able to swim without the use of a float, Alex began the long processes of building up confidence, ability and strength but buoyed by finally achieving a dream he quickly began to tackle longer distances.
In November, Alex decided to challenge himself to a 100 length (2.5km) swim to help raise money for charity and also to inspire other adults to take up lessons.
“If I could speak to any adult who thinks they can’t learn to swim, like I did a few years ago, I would say, YES, you can! Anyone can work hard and achieve when it comes to learning a skill, it takes practice and determination but, with the right coaching, anybody can swim and hopefully my challenge will inspire a few people.
“I will be splitting all donations between two charities, the first, Action on Hearing Loss, is a hearing loss charity and being hard of hearing myself I know first-hand all of the hard work charities such as Action on Hearing Loss do for people across the country.
“The second charity is the Lord Mayor of Sefton’s charity fund which helps many of the smaller charitable and voluntary groups that do not have a national profile. I have chosen to split any donations this way to acknowledge the hard work of Sefton Council’s coaching staff in helping me achieve my goal.”
Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Stephen Kermode, said: “I would like to congratulate Alex on his accomplishment and I hope that his story inspires adults across Sefton who would benefit from swimming lessons.
“I am absolutely delighted that he has chosen my Charity Fund as one of his chosen charities, all of the donations will be greatly received by groups across the borough.”
Along with adult and child swimming lessons, Sefton Council has announced a new Swimming Confidence Course specifically for Carers as part of the new Get Healthy, Get Active programme.
The 6 week course is aimed at building Carers confidence in the water, enabling them to continue to swim independently and/or with the person they care for.
Get Healthy, Get Active’s Swimming Confidence Course will take place at Bootle Leisure Centre from 11am-12pm, starting Friday, January 29. For more information call 0151 934 2340.
You can sponsor Alex in two ways, to sponsor Alex and donate to Action on Hearing Loss visit justgiving.com/Alex-Langley6
Alternatively, to donate to the Mayors Charity Fund simply text MSCF01 plus the amount £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.
Alex’s sponsored swim will take place at Bootle Leisure Centre on Friday, January 29 from 10.30-11.30am.
For more information on adult or children’s swimming lessons, visit: sefton.gov.uk/sport-leisure/swimming