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Bromley underwater hockey club swim distance of English Channel underwater to raise funds for motor neurone disease

PUBLISHED: 15:23 06 June 2018

The challenge raised funds for the Moror Neurone Disease Association. Picture: Paul Pizzey

The challenge raised funds for the Moror Neurone Disease Association. Picture: Paul Pizzey

Archant

Last week, members of the West Wickham Underwater Hockey (UWH) Club embarked on their biggest charity event yet - to collectively swim the distance of the English Channel underwater.

The challenge took place on May 31. Picture: Paul PizzeyThe challenge took place on May 31. Picture: Paul Pizzey

Wearing standard UWH equipment (masks, snorkels and fins), the team swam the 33,300m distance whilst holding their breath, within a one-hour time slot.

The epic challenge was completed on May 31 at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

The reason behind the challenge was to support founding member Paul Cook, who has recently been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Money raised will go towards pioneering stem cell treatment for Paul and for future research and support provided by the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

The team swam the 33,300m distance in one hour. Picture: Paul PizzeyThe team swam the 33,300m distance in one hour. Picture: Paul Pizzey

Paul, who started his UWH playing career at West Wickham in 1974 aged just 14, captained the team for 17 years, winning the National Championship three times and the European Club championship once.

He also represented Great Britain at five World Championships, winning two silver and two bronze medals.

Chairman of the club, Paul Pizzey, said the event went extremely well.

He said: “It was a good reminder of all the great things about our sport and club - whether its keeping fit, supporting each other, competitive spirit, life-long friendships, social events, and many others I could mention.

“It was such an innovative and inspired idea to raise funds for Paul Cook, who was instrumental in putting Wickham right up there in our formative years.”

Paul said that when the idea was first proposed to the team he thought it was definitely achievable, and that it wasn’t until the team took part in a Easter trail, which was a 30 minute swim, that he began to think the challenge may be tough.

He added: “We rose to the challenge, swimming nearly 62 miles in one hour.

“We’ve raised over £22,000 for a very worthy cause.

“Pam, the MNDA representative for the south-east was overwhelmed by our fund raising efforts and our event - I’m sure we all were.

“I’m proud by what we achieved and to be part of this club.”

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