30th Anniversary in 2018

The 30th Taunton Soroptimist Swimathon took place in February 2018!


Over the weekend of 17/18th February, members of the community participated in the 30th Swimathon and helped raise vital funds to support St. Margaret’s Hospice, the Taunton Foodbank and Mind in Taunton and West Somerset. See below for more details on the charities and what they will do with the money.

72 teams took part comprising 421 swimmers.  They swum 4,027 laps which is the equivalent of 125 miles!  The total raised in sponsorship by teams swimming over the weekend was a fantastic £20,189.49.

Beth French, ocean swimmer, speaking at the opening ceremony with the Mayor, Hazel Prior-Sankey, Head of Taunton Prep School, Andrew Edwards, Sadie Ellison from St Margaret's Hospice, Terry Beale, our Referee, and Jeanette Keitch, a Soroptimist who helped get the Swimathon up and running 30 years ago.
Pauline and Sue at the Check-in Desk on Saturday morning
Just some of the trophies that teams are competing for!
Helen Wallace, Beth French, Victoria Rayson (Manager of the Pool) and Jane Fitzgerald
Lentells Teams 1, 2 and 3 after their mornign swim.  Together with Team 4 in the afternoon they all swam a total of 216 laps!
Claims Consortium Group - still lots of energy after 66 laps!
CREAM Ts swimmers from Cream Care
Archie's Friends from Around the World - Reminiscence Learning's Team with a Theme entry
MindinTWS - Stroke of Luck
North Town Primary School - Sprinters and Sharks
Taunton Mayor, Hazel Prior-Sankey, chats to the UR Swimmers
United Response Swimmers
Pardoes Paddlers
The IMM Family
Foodbank Flotsom Family Team
Taunton Foodbank Teams
Taunton School Pool Staff
St George's Primary School - the Dolphins
Swimmers enjoying their swim
Taunton Swimming Club - Comp 2 and ST3
The Gangsters from St Margaret's Hospice - Team with a Theme entry
Old Timers - Team of ex swimming club swimmers who were all in the National Squad
Six of the Best and The Willarts (all one family)
Beth French's Milverton Massive Team themed as a Rainbow
The Mayor congratulates teams and Soroptimists at the end of the event and announces the final total of amount pledged - £14,323
Members of SI Taunton with the Final Countdown! (L to R) Pauline, Jane, Rhona, Moira and Swimathon Co-ordinator Christine

The Charities

St. Margaret’s Hospice

The Soroptimist Swimathon was started 30 years ago to support the Hospice when it was just opening. Members of Soroptimist international Taunton wanted to try and raise enough money to pay for a nurse at the Hospice for a year, which then cost £12,000.  They decided to do this by organising a Swimathon – quite a mammoth task in the days before computers!  However the Swimathon was very successful and the money was raised so it was decided to hold a Swimathon again the following year.

Taunton Soroptimists have kept doing this year on year, raising money for the Hospice and 75 other local charities since 1988.  In 2018 the Swimathon will again be supporting the Hospice.  It now costs £43,000 to fund a specialist Hospice Community Nurse for a year and the money the Hospice receives from the 30th Swimathon will be used towards the cost of funding a specialist nurse during 2018.

Foodbank Development Project

Taunton Foodbank is outgrowing its premises due to increased demand for its services.  With this in mind the Foodbank is going to take over the entire warehouse it currently rents part of.  The money the Foodbank receives from the Swimathon will be used to help fund the alterations needed to the building.  When the alterations are complete the Foodbank will have not only have the much needed extra space to store food, but also extra space to be to be able to provide a wider range of services to its recipients, such as a benefit advice service.

Mind in Taunton and West Somerset

Our local Mind charity provides mental health support services in Somerset. Their objectives are to promote good mental health, to encourage greater understanding of mental health issues, to provide high quality support and to enable genuine service user/survivor involvement and consultation in the development of all mental health services. The money Mind receives from the Swimathon will be used towards the £22,000 cost of funding an Information Guidance worker.

Please note: the sponsorship money will be divided as follows: 50% to St. Margaret’s Somerset Hospice and 25% each to Taunton Foodbank Project and Mind in Taunton and West Somerset.