Photo Credit: Bakers Lodge Studio

A charity swimathon at Victoria Leisure & Fitness in Southport raised £5,000 for North West Cancer Research. Photo by Bakers Lodge Studio

Participants in a mammoth swimathon have swam the equivalent of the English Channel three times – plus an extra 10 miles on top – to raise £5,000 for North West Cancer Research.

The fundraiser, held at Victoria Leisure & Fitness Centre, was a group effort with a total of 77 enthusiastic swimmers aged between eight and 79 years old taking part.

ots-swimmerTogether they clocked up 73 miles over a period of 12 hours to raise the final amount, which will be donated to North West Cancer Research via the charity’s Southport fundraising Committee.

One swimmer in particular, June Obersby, went the extra mile and raised a whopping £405 – the biggest single total amount raised on the day. She was rewarded for her efforts with a one night’s stay at The Ramada Hotel.

Wally Birch, owner and director of Victoria Leisure & Fitness Centre and who at 79 was the swimathon’s oldest participant, said: “It was a great day and we were amazed by the number of people who turned up. Regardless of ability and distance covered, every single person had a significant part to play in helping us raise this wonderful amount of money.

“I chose North West Cancer Research to benefit from the fundraiser, as I strongly support its commitment to finding a way to stop cancer. I know they rely heavily on financial contributions so I’m happy to help in whatever way I can.”

Victoria Leisure & Fitness centre’s donation will contribute to North West Cancer Research’s latest commitment to fund £11.2 million worth of cancer research across the North West over the next five years – £7.7 million of which will be spent at the University of Liverpool.

Olive Cutts, chair of the Southport Committee, who accepted the cheque on behalf of North West Cancer Research said: “We are so grateful to Wally and his fellow swimmers for their amazing contribution and equally as impressed with the distance they managed to cover. Fundraising committees rely heavily on the support of local communities and this is another great example of enjoyable ways to raise money.”

Anne Jackson, Chief Executive at North West Cancer Research also adds: “This is phenomenal effort from Victoria Leisure & Fitness Centre. Donations like this are instrumental in our overall fundraising strategy and combined, they enable us to pledge more funding for research and therefore progressing on the available treatments for cancer.”


Submit News Contact us with your community, business or sport news. Phone 07581350321




Breaking local news as it happens, searchable archives with photographs, the ability to instantly comment on news articles – there are so many advantages to OTS (Onthespot) News.

If you want your news read locally online then send it to – relying only on the newspaper is to restrict yourself to an ever reducing audience.