TEAMS of swimmers took a break from the sun on Sunday to help raise funds for charity at the Swimarathon in Ringwood.

Organised by Ringwood and Fordingbridge Lions Club, the event saw seven teams of up to six swimmers take part – including the Bournemouth Grove Hotel for people with cancer and terminal illnesses and Ringwood Town FC Under-11s.

Each team taking part in the event, at Ringwood Health and Leisure Club, Parsonage Barn Lane, was raising cash through sponsorship for their own choice of charity or project, with half of the money raised donated to the Lions’ own charitable trust for community projects.

Gwyneth Trickett, duty nurse at the Grove Hotel organised their team. She said: “We all had a great time. We had five swimmers and I was the one cracking the whip.

“All the swimmers today were of different abilities so people set their own targets and tried to do as many laps as they could, and I am very proud of them.

“Our swimmers were sponsored by the guests at the hotel, who havebeen leaving money at reception for them, so we aren’t sure how much we have raised at the moment.”

Other teams included two from Ringwood School, one raising funds for a project in Borneo, the other for Ringwood food bank, while another team came from Fordingbridge Air Cadets.

Lions president Stephen Sherring said they were delighted with how it went.

“We have not done a swimarathon for a while, but we decided to start it up again this year, and it was great to have such an enthusiastic response,” he said.

“Since it was the first and we weren’t sure how many teams would take part we decided to let people nominate different charities, but next year we might pick one charity to benefit.”

Mr Sherring said the Lions have donated some £15,000 over the past 12 months, to causes as varied as the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, Wessex Heartbeat and a reading project for youngsters at Ringwood School.