In the Swim - Part 1

Next May, a team of licensing execs will take on the challenge of swimming around the Maltese Island to raise money for The Light Fund. In the first of a regular series of columns, Stephen Gould, co-managing director of 4Kids, asks for your support?
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The Light Fund is the UK licensing industry fundraising body for a variety of charities affiliated to Breast Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Terminally Ill and Deprived Children.

Since its inception a few years ago, it has raised over £100,000 for good causes.

Next year, there will be an adventurous fundraising effort to swim around the Maltese Islands.

With eight months still to go, we currently have a team of 11 licensing connected swimmers signed up, with only three swimming and two support crew places remaining. Those brave philanthropic souls to date are Ian Downes (Start Licensing), Janet Woodward (Coolabi), Jane Kennedy (4Kids), Cassie Allen (BBC Worldwide), Craig Rowell (CPLG), Jessica Johnson (Kilogram Media), Ian Down (Hamlins), Richard Flook (Steiner Elemis), Henry Mitchell (Barlow, Lyde and Gilbert), Hugo Rebbeck (Sothebys) and myself.

The trip is being organised in conjunction with Swim Trek Limited and will take place between May 17th and 24th 2008. We will be based on Gozo and the swimming will be a combination of coastal and island hopping around Malta, Gozo and Comino - including the infamous Blue Lagoon.

The plan is to complete a minimum of 5KM a day, however, 10KM a day is the target for some swimmers.

Be under no illusion - this will be a challenging target to meet in unpredictable open water. Swimmers must have a minimum competency of 1,500 metres in 30 minutes - the equivalent of 60 lengths of a 25 metre pool. The minimum goal of 15KM over three days is the Iron Man Triathlon equivalent of cycling 434.87 miles or running 101.78 miles. In short – it’s not for the faint hearted.

Most of those signed up so far are former ‘water babies’ who are now showing the ravages of time - droopy bits, fat bits, unfit bits and generally overall wear and tear. In short, this is a great excuse for a little bit of personal refurbishment. Most of us will shed a few pounds and hopefully Messrs Woodward and Rowell will put on a few pounds! Overall, we also hope to raise many pounds.

In Malta we will all wear mesh body suits to protect us from jelly fish and sunburn, and we will have three support boats throughout for provisions and emergencies. For anyone thinking of volunteering as support crew, please bear in mind the speed of the boat will be at swimming pace - there'll be a lot of bobbing about in heat and sun and it could be a queasy experience to say the least. Indeed, there is a better than average chance that breakfast could be an all day event.

Aside from seeking general sponsorship for each participant, we also desperately need commercial endorsement to cover the costs of approximately £1,000 for each swimmer. Corporate sponsorship may be as little as £1,000 for say goggles and £2,000 for towels, etc. Any offers or ideas will be most gratefully received and readily acknowledged care of our very own trip PR guru - Jane Garner at Kilogram Media.

Training has already begun and I'll elaborate more on that in the next blog - you simply wouldn't believe some of the stories to date. Trust me - you won't! Indeed, moving forward these will be exceedingly light hearted blogs which should confirm the insanity of all those taking part for this exceedingly worth cause.

As a teaser, some have us have already joined the Serpentine Swimming Club and we race there each Saturday morning at 8.00am - with the ducks, with the swans, with the latter's poo and in the good company of some of London's most eccentric characters including American joggers, squirrels and even a Lord. Heck - there is even a connection to J.M.Barrie and Peter Pan and sometimes we go in fully clothed.

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