Bob Seely and Anna Griffith at a practice swim.
A SOLDIER returning from his latest deployment in Afghanistan is joining forces with a new mum and 68 other people planning to swim The Solent for charity next Sunday, July 15.
Bob Seely, 46, from Chillerton, is teaming up with London teacher Anna Griffith to take part in the swim. Anna is hoping to raise funds for the West Wight sports centre, while Bob is hoping to raise funds for Hampshire and IW Air Ambulance and the Barely Born Appeal, at St Mary’s Hospital.
Bob said: "Shanklin councillor David Williams and the former chair of the IW Conservative Association, Dona Ratcliff, and others have done such a good job supporting Barely Born and the air ambulance over the past 12 months I wanted to do something to help as well and because I love swimming it makes a good combination."
Bob’s fund-raising effort was put on hold recently because of a short deployment in Afghanistan.
He said: "I have raised nearly £300 so far but would like to get at least £500. Both the charities and the West Wight centre are important Island causes."
All the swimmers go in pairs and are accompanied by an experienced kayaker in case of difficulties.
Bob is swimming with Anna Griffith, whose first baby is four months old.
As well as swimming 100 lengths in West Wight pool to prove they can go the distance, all the swimmers have had to practise sea swimming at Colwell, accompanied by their kayakers.
Last year’s event raised £23,000 for West Wight Sports Centre Trust and other charities. This year, swimmers are hoping to raise even more.
Anyone wanting to support Anna can go to tinyurl.com/agswim or for Bob, tinyurl.com/bsswim or contact the West Wight Sports Centre on 752168.