A NEW charity event will take place in Ellesmere next month in aid of a local hospital.

The Mere Mile event, organised by Swimfinity, will see keen swimmers swimming a mile in open water at the mere in Ellesmere.

Swimfinity have teamed up with The League of Friends (LoF) at Gobowen’s Orthopaedic Hospital, to raise much-needed funds during the pandemic.

Victoria Sugden, LoF charity director, is grateful to the Swimfinity group for their help in organising the new event.

“We’re very happy to be teaming up with Swimfinity,” she said. “We’re now just sorting out all the safety measures we need to put in place for the event.

“This is the first time we will be holding an outdoor swimming event – we have held swimming events before but they have been in our hydrotherapy pool, so this is the first open water swim we will be holding.

“We have had to think differently about fundraising over the past few months because obviously things have changed – open water swimming is a lot safer in terms of the virus situation.”

Usual fundraising events organised by the LoF in aid of the hospital have been postponed or cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 situation.

Victoria admits the pandemic has proved to be a difficult time for the charity, but has thanked continued support of volunteers and fundraisers throughout.

She said: “Fundraising is extremely difficult – in usual, traditional ways a lot of our fundraising events are group activities or coffee mornings.

“Our fundraising income has shrunk considerably. We had a number of events planned this year which we’ve had to cancel because of the virus, so we are thinking differently.

“We have the Shropshire Virtual Show on August 22, in collaboration with four other charities.

“We’ve always had tremendous support from volunteers and the community, but we’ve been made to think about how we can access that differently during the pandemic.

“The situation has presented a huge challenge to us, but it has been an opportunity to think up new exciting events as we look to do things differently.”

The swim will take place on September 12 between 1pm and 4pm at Ellesmere mere.

Victoria hopes the event will become a permanent fixture.

She added: “The Mere Mile is a really exciting event and it would be our hope that we would be able to continue that for years to come.

“We’re very excited about it and Swimfinity have been amazing, and we have a lot of staff who have taken part in swimming challenges before, including Anna Unsworth, our community fundraising officer, who is leading this and has been able to put all the right things in place.”

To register as a swimmer, call 01691 404401 or email anna.unsworth@nhs.net

To sponsor a swimmer, visit www.justgiving.com/robertjones-agneshunt