Jersey’s swimmers have shattered previous records by raising a staggering £146,000 at the 2011 Lions Club of Jersey Swimarathon.

To celebrate the 40th event, the money raised will be split between over 40 Island charities. ‘Each year we are overwhelmed by the commitment Islanders show in supporting the Swimarathon and 2011 has, once again, exceeded all our expectations,’ said Lion Carl Howarth, President of the Lions Club of Jersey. ‘Thanks to the 4,122 swimmers who took part we are able to pass on a significant sum to a broad spectrum of deserving Jersey charities.’

Mr Howarth said that each year the amount raised by Islanders was given an additional boost with a lap donation from the event sponsors RBC Wealth Management. This year the company has added 40 pence for each lap swum to the fund-raising pot. ‘RBC Wealth Management has sponsored the event for five years now and its support, both the financial help and the willingness of their staff to take part, is incredibly valuable to us,’ said Mr Howarth.

2011 also marked the fifth and final Swimarathon for His Excellency, the Lieutenant-Governor, Lieutenant-General Andrew Ridgway, and his wife Valerie. They took part in the event in their official role and with their team the Royal Seals. ‘We would really like to offer a special thanks to His Excellency and Mrs Ridgway who have been staunch supporters of the Swimarathon since arriving in the Island five years ago. Their efforts alone this year raised £29,000 and in the last five years they have raised £134,000,’ said Mr Howarth.

Groups as diverse as Le Squez Youth Club, The Stroke Association, Jersey Mencap and Greyhound Rescue Jersey will all benefit from the funds raised this year. The Jersey Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, a charity which the Lions Club of Jersey helped to set up in 1968, will be using their donation to continue assisting their members with the purchase of specialist equipment.

‘We are incredibly grateful to the swimmers who took part. As a small charity, donations like this make an amazing difference to us. They give us the opportunity to ensure that our members are able to live as normally as possible, whether that is through the purchase of medical equipment or help with adapted transport,’ said the charity’s chairman Joy Thomson.