Saturday 13th August 2016

Balloon release photoSo…. after getting changed from the swim, it was time to go outside for the balloon release. These were kindly sponsored by DCLT and were to represent one for every mile I had swum over the past year. I am excited to say that we have one balloon found already…. near Grimsby! This might mean that if the wind direction has taken them east, then a lot of them may have ended up in the sea!  However, the tags say that the competition to find them goes on till 31st October so we shall see.

After we had let the balloons go, it was then time to enjoy a Reception in the main room upstairs at the Leisure Centre. It was a lovely opportunity for those invited to chat to the Osmonds, and have photos taken. It was especially nice to recognise those who had offered great support throughout my Challenge, namely Carl Lewis from DCLT who simply could not have done more to support my efforts, for which I am extremely grateful.

A special mention was given to Kayleigh from Tesco Extra and Carolyn from Asda who coordinated the bag packs there. Unfortunately Martine from Morrisons was unable to come at the last minute, but their contribution was also recognised. Then we had Shirl from Thorntons who had donated over 1,000 chocolates for the Hearing Fund Gala, including samples for the Reception. Amazing. My Slimming World Consultant Sue Denton was there, as was the lovely Bobbie Roberts , Head of Trustees from the Deaf School. Special friends who have supported me in a huge way were also included on the guest list.  Finally I could not have missed an opportunity to recognise my lovely husband Paul, and my family, who have each been a tower of strength to me. I really could not have done this without them.

A special thank you to everyone who turned up to make it such an unforgettable occasion.  I am extremely grateful to Merrill, Justin and Kristi Osmond for coming, and for Justin being such a great sport in wanting to swim with me. What an honour! (Thanks to the lovely Tracey for organising their schedule to allow them to be there too!)

The Osmonds came to Armthorpe…. how incredible is that?!  😀

Dreams really can come true.

So what happens next?? As I finished my swim I had a strong impression that this is not the end, but a beginning of something else. Many people have encouraged me to keep writing this Blog once my Challenge ends. I have loved writing. I really do intend to follow it up with a book, because there are lots of things I would have liked to have shared but were unable to for various reasons. For now, the Blog continues. I still need to share the events following the Final Mile day so there is still more to come  ……

 

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Friday 1st July 2016

Wow, wow, wow is all I can say!  What a crazy and hectic and successful couple of days!!  There are so many things needing my attention, I’m starting to understand what an event organiser must feel like! Ha! Apart from swimming almost 5 miles since yesterday morning, some more incredible things have been going on.

AsdaFirstly I met the lovely Carolyn from Asda Doncaster.  The reason why our meeting was so interesting is that when I spoke to her a couple of months ago on the phone about doing a bag pack in her store, unfortunately they were unable to help at the time.  As I came out of my lunch time swim yesterday, Carolyn was in the Reception area at the Leisure Centre. (Talk about being in the right place, at the right time!)  What I had known previously was that she and her colleague at Asda were huge Osmond fans.  We got chatting about how Asda would like to be more involved in the Armthorpe community and whether she could help me after all. She invited me to go see her a couple of hours later at the store.  I can’t share what the outcome of our meeting was yet, because it is subject to approval. However I will say that after speaking to Carolyn at some length, I am SO impressed with what Asda do in our local community to help those in need and who are less fortunate .  What a fantastic job she has, and she makes a massive difference to the local people here.  If permission is granted, I am looking forward to working with her in the very near future, which will certainly benefit The Hearing Fund UK, and potentially have other benefits to the charity afterwards.

I had the biggest grin on my face as I headed from there to teach my swimming classes yesterday.  It was in one of my classes that a certain person (who shall remain nameless), handed me an envelope. They had indicated it was a donation to my fundraising, and thinking it was probably a £5 note for which I would be very grateful for, imagine my amazement when I opened the envelope later and realised they had donated £100!! I actually cried that they could be so generous.
Sw swimThis leads me on to today…. this morning I had my first ‘group’ swim.  Some friends from Slimming World, including my lovely SW Consultant Sue, met to swim some lengths. Whilst the group was small, Brenda and Gail completed the second part of their first ever mile, and Sue swam 45 lengths!!  There is quite a lot of sponsorship coming from today and I am so very grateful for their efforts to support the Challenge. We had a great time. (Mile 227 completed)

This afternoon was spent talking to many people about my plans for July before I get to the end.  I am trying really hard to get through the necessary procedure to receive a Street Collection License so that I can talk to the people of Donny on Market Day, to drum up some last minute support.  This is proving more difficult than first thought.  We will see if my license can be processed in time.

Tonight I had a couple of exciting things happen.  I headed back to the pool because I had been invited by Armthorpe Lifesaving Club to come and swim a mile with them. Before I got to the changing rooms, I had some news that made me smile (again!)….

Louis Tomlinson

 

Louis Tomlinson of One Direction now knows about my Challenge, thanks to a colleague of mine who happens to be his cousin, and who spoke to him on the phone about it.  It turns out he would be happy to support me if his cousin swims a mile with me. How cool is that?!!!  I know Louis supports a lot of charities, so I am honoured that The Hearing Fund will benefit from his interest in what I’m doing. If you get to read this Louis, THANK YOU!!! x

 

 

 

 

I then swam my 228th mile with some awesome kids tonight.  I am especially grateful to Ian Fillingham for the work he does with the Club, and how supportive he has been to me personally. He is the type of guy where nothing is too difficult, and from the moment he knew about what I was doing a few months ago (actually it was the night I laid out the 125 mile floats on the poolside because I had reached half way!), Ian has been really positive about everything. He couldn’t have been more helpful!

Armthorpe Amateur Swimming Club made an extremely generous donation tonight, and I am so grateful for their kindness and support.  I will tell you more about the swim tomorrow, with photos to come.

What a difference 48 hours can make! (4.3 miles/275 lengths  and £226!)

New fundraising total:  £3,906       New swimming total: 228 miles

Tired but happy. 🙂 zzzzz