This summer around 1,000 babies from across the Tees Valley have taken to the water as part of a Splashathon fundraising campaign, organised by Water Babies Tees Valley.
The region’s children took to the pool to swim a ‘splashy width’ to raise an incredible £13k, and counting, for Tommy’s Charity, a national charity that funds research into premature births, still births and miscarriages, and provides pregnancy health information to parents.
Across the week around 1,000 babies and their parents, wearing their finest pirate outfits, took part across 150 classes.
Pamela Hargreaves, Managing Director of Water Babies Tees Valley, said: “It was a fantastic week, we’re over the moon and thrilled to have raised so much money in support of such a fantastic charity. We’ve still got a few more donations to come in too so I’m hoping we’ll be able to hit our £15k target by August.
“I’ve been so overwhelmed by the support from our parents and the amazing amount of effort they have all put into making their incredible pirate costumes, from Captain Jack Sparrow to Tinkerbell.”
Ben Houchen, the newly elected mayor of the Tees Valley, and wife Rachel came along to Priory Woods School to give their support to the parents and children taking part.
He said: “To raise such a huge amount of money is unbelievable but it is also extremely important that children and parents can come along to Water Babies classes and learn how to swim in a safe and secure environment.
“I got the chance to see children from only a few months old learn how to hold on to the side should they fall into water accidentally and how to move themselves along a ledge to get themselves to a place of safety. This isn’t just a fun class to take your child to on a morning – this saves lives.
“When I was younger I actually had quite a dangerous experience myself in the River Tees, it was before the Tees Barrage was there and we were fishing as a family. As we got up to leave, the ground just went underneath me and I fell into the water.
“Luckily my dad was only footsteps ahead and instantly came to my rescue, but to this day it still keeps my mum awake at night. Classes like this are invaluable and essential for all parents.”
With the school holidays now in full flow, scores of Tees Valley families will be looking to get out and about with their children.
Pamela commented: “With the hot weather children are more likely to want to go swimming, either at local pools or in open water sites. What Water Babies offers parents is peace of mind and the chance to bond with their children while they learn.”
Parents interested can find Water Babies in 11 pools across Tees Valley all the way from Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton to Yarm, Stokesley and Redcar. They can also enrol in a summer school too.
Pamela said: “Every child should be able to swim and having these classes from such an early age, puts children so far ahead and gives them the vital life-saving skills from even just a few months old.
“Our youngest ever swimmer was only 10 days old, but the majority of babies start swimming with us at around three months until they are around four. It’s never too early or too late to start.”
To locate your nearest class, visit: https://www.waterbabies.co.uk/contact/tees-valley-and-north-york-moors