Canterbury teachers embark on charity swimathon


Two Canterbury teachers will swim the equivalent width of the English Channel over the next eight weeks in a brave attempt to raise money for their three favourite charities.

Over the course of the challenge Mark Taylor and Marisa Amboage will each rack up 22 miles, or 1,416 lengths on their personal fitness trackers – all while keeping up with their day jobs, educating local children.

They are also competing against each other and inviting sponsors to bet on who will reach their target first. Backers of the winning athlete will be placed in a raffle to win prizes donated by local businesses.

Marisa Amboage, who teaches languages at Archbishops School on St Stephen’s Hill, began swimming two years ago as an antidote to stress. To prepare for the challenge Amboage has been taking to the water three times a week ahead of the endurance test.

Mark Taylor, from the Lernejo School, is a regular visitor to the Kings Recreation Centre where the pair found the inspiration for one of their three charity choices. Tennis coach, Stewart Bristow devastatingly lost his nine-year-old daughter Sadie to a severe allergic reaction in September.

Sadie was ranked the top under-nine tennis player in the country, and The Sadie Bristow Foundation has been set up in her name to help other children benefit from the joys of sport and to raise awareness of allergies.

The local educators are also raising money for the Kajokeji Education Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Amboage said: “The Kajokeji Education Trust was started by the Archbishop’s School and has built and maintains four schools in Africa. It also feeds hundreds of children a bowl of porridge every day, and for many this is their only meal.”

Taylor added: “My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some years ago at a relatively young age. Watching his decline has been heartbreaking.

“The research carried out by the Alzheimer’s Society and the support they offer to families like mine has been invaluable.”

The teachers are hoping to raise over £1,000 which will be split across the three charities. The challenge begins on Monday 3rd December. You can sponsor them by clicking here.


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