THE RETURN of a traditional Evesham swimming contest which was held over the weekend has been hailed a huge success by organisers.
A large crowd gathered at Evesham Rowing Club to watch the historic scenes as the Evesham Mile River Swim was held for the first time on Saturday (July 5) since the 1930s.
The event was organised by Evesham Vale Triathlete Club and Tewkesbury Triathlon Club who joined forces alongside Evesham resident Fran Webb to bring back the race to the town.
A certificate and a Bell Tower commemorative paperweight was presented to the first male and female swimmers to complete the race on the River Avon. These were Oliver Wilkinson from Tewkesbury Triathlon Club and swimming instructor
All proceeds from the event were donated to the Evesham Bell Tower Appeal alongside a bucket collection on the day which raised £92.
Plans are now taking place to hold the event once again next year to benefit another Vale charity.
Mrs Webb said she was delighted with the way the event went and was looking forward to hopefully more success next year.
“It absolutely surpassed anything we could have hoped for.” she said.
“It was great to see a large crowd come along and support the event. We want to come back next year and have even more competitors.
“Thanks must be given to Evesham Rowing Club for allowing the swimmers’ use of their facilities and South Worcestershire Lifesaving Club who provided expert safety cover for them.
“Whilst we wanted to bring back this exciting spectator event our priority was always to look after the safety of the swimmers in the water.
“Rivers and open water can be dangerous and swimming in them should not be attempted by the inexperienced swimmer.”
Evesham Mayor Coun Charlie Homer, who started the race, added: “I was delighted to see the return of such an exciting event
and hope it will continue in future years.”
South Worcestershire Lifesaving Club members Alex Round, Luke Haines and Byrony Laws made sure all swimmers were safe on the day. (s)
Triumphant Jess Blake celebrates victory in the comeback event. (s)