A fair start in sport

Since the start of the year, Integral Contract Manager, Stuart Tiley has been brightening up the West Bromwich office on a Friday with his loud and crazy shirts. Each time he does so he donates to Level Water - a charity who provide specialist one-to-one swimming lessons for children with physical and sensory disabilities.

They help to give children physical, social and emotional confidence through sport, while enabling them to go on to join mainstream group swimming lessons or their local competitive club.

To further raise money for this worthwhile charity, Stuart recently took on the gruelling challenge of swimming 10 kilometres (6 miles) down the River Dart in Devon.

Stuart said:

"With Level Water’s help each child learns to swim at least 15m front crawl and backstroke, meaning they can be safe and independent in the water. This also helps them develop confidence, self-esteem and resilience, skills which will stand them in good stead for life in general.

I found it very challenging as I had never swam that sort of distance before in open water. My training mainly took place in swimming in pools, with the odd visit to the seaside and local lakes for a 3 or 4 mile swim, so the whole journey was an experience.

On the day I was up at 5am to get to Totnes ready for a 9am start. Over the weekend a thousand people took part, with two sessions of 500 people. The weather was fair and the river was 14 degrees with a tiny current. We swam down the river from Totnes to Dittisham and the first 7km were really hard as it was very difficult to gauge time and distance. Once I had reached the rest stop just past the 7km mark, I had a sense of exhilaration and put my head down.

The last 3k were a lot easier especially rounding the corner and seeing the supporters lining the banks, one of which was my daughter who had travelled down from Gloucester. I finished in 3hrs 4mins which I am pretty proud of as the event is the equivalent to running a marathon. I had sores on my neck where the wet suit had rubbed, but it was all worth it to support the great work that Level Water do."

You can still donate to reward Stuart for his efforts and help more children with disabilities learn to swim, by visiting this link: https://www.justgiving.com/StuartTiley