Lions’ bid to save lives

The swimarathon
The swimarathon
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Caring fund-raisers in part of the Fylde coast are stepping up their bid to save lives.

After generating enough cash over the last two years to have defibrillators installed in 
Fylde’s schools and other public buildings, Lytham St Annes Lions’ latest swimarathon will benefit the charity CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young – with the aim of funding the medical screening of hundreds of local young people.

The Lions, who have raised more than £190,000 for a wide range of good causes in nearly three decades of the swimarathon, targeted action to prevent young deaths two years ago after a near-fatal incident involving Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba brought the benefits of defibrillators to the fore.

With the aim of preventing tragedies such as the sudden death of St Annes teenager Luke Rutter, who collapsed on a tennis court five years ago, the Lions raised £10,000 at the 2012 swimarathon.

The cash was used to provide the vital machines for secondary schools and then followed up last year with a record £11,500 to similarly kit out primary schools.

Now, the aim is to raise at least £7,000 to cover the kind of preventative measures in which CRY specialises – and the Lions still have plenty of places available for teams of swimmers to take part in the charity fund-raiser, which takes place at St Annes’ YMCA Pool on Sunday, January 25.

Lions spokesman Colin Holt said: “The aim to supply Fylde’s schools plus public buildings such as swimming baths with the defibrillators was a brilliant success and we were delighted with the response from the swimmers and sponsors.

“We wondered what would be the ideal beneficiary to follow that up and CRY was the answer.

“They do great work in screening young people for cardiac problems but the screenings need paying for and we hope we can raise enough to pay for the procedure to be carried out on some 200 young people aged from 14 to 18.”

“Details, such as the youngsters who will be involved are yet to be confirmed but we hope it can be held over a weekend later in the year.”

The Lions’ efforts have come in for glowing praise from CRY chief executive Alison Cox, who founded the charity in 1995 after her son, Steve, was diagnosed with a heart condition while training at a tennis academy in the USA, aged just 18.

Alison said: “This is a very special year for CRY as we mark our 20th anniversary.

“Since we launched in 1995, CRY has gone from strength to strength and thanks to the generosity and fund-raising efforts of the public across the UK, we have been able to develop and grow a range of specialist services, from screening and research to our network of specialist bereavement support.”

“Therefore, on behalf of all of us at CRY, I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the Lytham St Annes Lions for choosing us as a beneficiary and for recognising the importance of cardiac screening.

“We look forward to bringing our screening experts to the area in the near future.”

Anyone wanting to find out more about taking part in the swimarathon or how to get involved in sponsorship should contact Joe Woods on (01772) 679766. More information please visit: www.c-r-y.org.uk.