JAMES Rich, deputy headteacher at St Michael’s Primary School in Lyme Regis, will be swimming from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight next month to raise funds for charity.
Keen sportsman James, from Bridport, will be taking on the swimming challenge with 11 other people in aid of spinal injury charity Aspire. The route is just over three miles and he hopes to complete it in under two hours on Saturday, August 4.
James (pictured), who joined St Michael’s two years ago, has previously competed in triathlons and undertaken several sporting challenges for charity, including the London Marathon for the air ambulance and a 50-mile walk in Scotland for an Army charity.
He also pushed one of his former students around a half marathon course in a wheelchair, to raise funds for an off-road wheelchair for her.
Now he is hoping to raise £1,000 for Aspire, which provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injury, supporting them from injury to independence.
A keen swimmer, James said he had been looking for a charity open-water swim to take part in, and chose Aspire’s Solent Swim having been impressed by The Aspire Leisure Centre, the first fully-integrated leisure centre in Europe, as he likes to support inclusion in sport.
Having previously worked at Dorset County Hospital as a porter before becoming a teacher, James saw several people suffering from spinal cord injuries and said he feels lucky to be able to take on such sporting challenges.
James started training for the swim from Portsmouth to Ryde at Bridport Leisure Centre in January but has been enjoying more open-water swimming in the recent hot weather.
He took part in the annual Lyme Splash swimming challenge from Lyme Regis to Charmouth last year, and plans to swim from Seatown to West Bay as part of his training.
After completing the challenge for Aspire in August, James is planning to take part in the Oceanman open water swimming world championship in Benidorm in October, and also hopes to one day swim the English Channel.
To sponsor James, visit his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swimjames