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Swimmer’s Heroic 24-hour Marathon For British Heart Foundation

Published on: 31 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 31 Jul, 2013

The hero of the week has to be Patrick Fitzsimmons who completed a marathon 24-hour swim on Tuesday afternoon at the Spirit health club at Guildford’s Holiday Inn in aid of the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Patrick Fitzsimmons just after completing his 24-swim. Pictured with him, from left: Spirit's deputy manager Hayley Bollons; the Mayor of Guildford, Diana Lockyear-Nibbs; and Patrick's wife Carol, and son Thomas.

Patrick Fitzsimmons just after completing his 24-hour swim. Pictured with him, from left: Spirit’s deputy manager Hayley Bollons; the Mayor of Guildford, Diana Lockyer-Nibbs; and Patrick’s wife Carol, and son Thomas.

Patrick, 55, and from Farnborough, is the club manager at Spirit. He completed his swim of the pool there at 5pm on Tuesday to a rousing round of applause from his wife Carol and son Thomas, the Mayor of Guildford, along with friends, staff and local BHF fundraisers.

When he finally climbed out of the pool exactly 24 hours after he’d stepped in all he could say was: “I’m glad that’s over!”

The event has already raised £1,200 for the BHF, with more money expected to roll in. His swim was part of a Spirit Quadrathlon that also saw Spirit staff members taking part in. Lyndon Bunnett completed a one-hour row, Rachael Shaw a one-hour run and Scott Judd a one-hour cycle.

Another length completed, only a few more to go...

Another length completed, only a few more to go…

But Patrick’s effort was indeed something else. Starting at 5pm on Monday, by 6am on Tuesday he had swum the same distance as if crossing the English Channel. And when he finally stopped he had completed something like 4,000 lengths of the pool – about 37 miles. That’s the same distance as the length of the Basingstoke Canal, from Byfleet down to the Greywell Tunnel in deepest Hampshire.

Spirit’s deputy manager Hayley Bollons must also take a lot of credit for the event. She was on hand for the full 24 hours monitoring Patrick’s progress and supplying him with drinks and chocolate, and so on, as he paused for a few seconds now and again.

Spirit at the Holiday Inn in Guildford has been a supporter of the BHF for three years and its staff enjoys taking part in fundraising and community events.

The Mayor of Guildford, Diana Lockyear-Nibbs presents the defibrillator machine to the health club. Pictured with her are Spirit staff and local BHF fundraisers.

The Mayor of Guildford, Diana Lockyer-Nibbs, presents the defibrillator machine to the health club. Pictured with her are Spirit staff and local BHF fundraisers.

Also on Tuesday the Mayor, Diana Lockyer-Nibbs, was on hand to present Spirit with a defibrillator machine from the BHF, courtesy of previous fundraising. Spirit is a GP-accreditated referral centre, so the machine is a useful extra piece of equipment to have on stand by.

BHF Guildford branch fundraiser Shirley West was delighted after Patrick’s marathon swim and the efforts by his fellow staff members. She said: “It has been a brilliant day and a great time had by all.”

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