A NEWCASTLE United star has helped launch a charity event to raise cash for a borough charity.
Reason to Swim is the brainchild of fitness instructor and Great British triathlete Joanna Reed, and is the first in a series of Reason To events.
The event and is aimed at seeing how many miles the people of the north east can collectively swim within one week, while raising money for the The Percy Hedley Foundation – based in Forest Hall.
Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper was on hand to help launch the swim.
Speaking at the launch at Northern Counties School, he said: “Part of the job we do is being involved in the community – the club is a large part of the community and it is important that players put something back, because we have fantastic support.
“I have been with the club a long time now and it is important to continue with charity work.
“I am delighted that I can take part in the launch of Reason To swim, the foundation is great and it is fantastic to raise money for them.”
The Percy Hedley Foundation, which celebrates its diamond jubilee next year, supports children and adults with cerebral palsy, communication difficulties and profound and multiple learning disabilities.
The Reason to Swim event will run from Monday, July 2, to Sunday, July 8, and will see hundreds of youngsters from schools across the region swimming one mile as part of their swimming lessons, to see how many miles they can accumulate within the week.
Thirty-seven-year-old Joanna said: “The Percy Hedley Foundation is such a fantastic organisation helping so many children and adults across the north east.
“I wanted to work with a charity that deals with ceraebral palsy, and the Percy Hedley Foundation is a great charity that does some excellent work with youngsters in the region.
“Reason To’ is about giving people a reason to be active, healthy and at the same time raise some money for a fantastic local charity.
“This will give the children the experience of team spirit as well as encouraging each other to reach a common goal and raise money for charity.”
Adults can also take part by simply swimming a mile during the week, when and wherever they would normally swim, and they can really make their mile count as part of the north east total by donating a minimum of £5 to Percy Hedley at www.virginmoneygiving.com/reasontoswim
Anth Mooney, from event sponsors Virgin Money, added: “We are passionate about helping good causes in our community and are delighted to support ‘Reason to Swim’. It will be an exciting event that offers a great opportunity for swimmers across the north east to raise funds for the Percy Hedley Foundation.”
Joanna is also organising Reason to Ride, which will see her and a team of cyclists ride a total of 200 miles in 24 hours from Edinburgh to Newcastle, and Reason to Run, involving runners Matt Atkinson and Phil Smith running the length of Hadrian’s Wall in a day.
For more information on Reason to Swim and a registration pack, schools can visit www.percyhedley.org.uk