A long-established charity event is set to provide a major boost to a fund in memory of a Fylde youngster.
Lytham St Annes Lions’ 32nd annual swimarathon will raise cash for the Edward Dee Forever Fund for Meningitis Now - to the delight of the family of the 10-year-old, who died from meningitis last December.
Since then, the fund set up in his name to battle the disease has raised more than £48,000 - and is in line for what is likely to be its biggest single donation to date when the Lions swimarathon takes place at St Annes YMCA Pool in January.
The Lions nominate a charity to benefit from the event every year and over the last three decades have generated more than £100,000 for local good causes.
After raising enough in recent years to supply life-saving defibrillators for every school in Fylde, the swimarathon generated some £13,500 earlier this year for Brian House children’s hospice as hundreds of swimmers in more than 50 sponsored teams of eight took part.
The Lions have their sights set on the forthcoming event, on Sunday, January 28, raising £15,000 or even more for the fund in Edward’s name - and are inviting entries from swimmers of all ages.
Edward’s mum Elizabeth said the Lions’ choice of the fund as the 2018 recipient is particularly touching because Edward took part in a number of the previous swimarathons in support of other charities.
“He and his brother William both took part and really enjoyed it,” she said.
“Swimming was a sport which Edward loved – not only was he involved with Lytham St Annes Swimming Club, but was also on the Rookie Lifeguard programme, and of course swimming also featured as one of the disciplines in the many triathlons he took part in.
“We are really pleased that the Edward Dee Forever Fund for Meningitis Now has been chosen as the beneficiary of the next swimarathon.
“Not only does this raise awareness in the locality, but in the wider community too - while at the same time raising the profile of the charity.
“I’m sure there will be many entries into this fundraising event, both from regular participating teams, but many more made up from people who either knew Edward or have been inspired by Edward to take part in events such as this.”
Elizabeth added that the Edward Dee Forever Fund has so far raised £48,656 for Meningitis Now in Edward’s memory.
She added: “There is actually a lot more than that waiting in the wings on various justgiving pages which haven’t closed and transferred the money yet; so in fact there is well over £50,000 which has been raised for the charity and we are so grateful for the support.”
Recent sponsored events including cycle rides and Fleetwood Triathlon, in which Edward’s dad Justin was among the participants in aid of the charity, have raised more than £5,500 and the grand total so far also include £2,876.64 generated when the charity was chosen as a recipient at this year’s Lytham Festival.
“Considering the appalling weather conditions, the amount we raised then was quite incredible,” said Elizabeth.
“The army of volunteers who came out and braved those conditions for Edward with such commitment and enthusiasm was wonderful, with many saying that they were honoured to be there collecting for Meningitis Now in memory of a very special boy. That was very touching.”
A Lions spokesman said: “We have been delighted with the support the swimarathon has received over the years and are looking forward to plenty of backing again to help provide a major boost for the Meningtitis Now fun in Edward’s name.”Details of the swimarathon and entry forms are available from Joe Woods of the Lions on 07528 483999 or also by email at firstname.lastname@example.org