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Friday, October 8, 2010

Alastair makes a splash for cancer charity

A PONTELAND swimmer did not let an event cancellation stop him from making a splash for a cancer charity.
Alastair Ruffman was looking forward to taking part in the Great North Swim at Lake Windermere in Cumbria for the third year in a row until it was called off because of blue green algae in the lake.
But he and friend Martin Price from Dalton secured entry to another one mile open water swim – the British Gas Great Salford Swim – a few weeks later.
And last Thursday he was part of a team of 20 that did the Ponteland Butterfly Charity Relay, which involved the swimmers doing as many lengths of the Ponteland Leisure Centre pool as they could in one hour with the butterfly stroke.
“The butterfly event was specifically in support of a fellow swimmer who has raised money for the Teenage Cancer Trust since the loss of her teenage son,” said Mr Ruffman. “We all felt it towards the end of the hour, but everyone kept going very well and we were delighted with our total of 485. I was also decided to help raise money for the charity by doing the open water swim.
“It was a shock when I heard the event was cancelled, but thankfully there was the swim in Manchester later in the month to do instead.”
The 48-year-old finished the Great Salford Swim in 124th place overall in a time of 26 minutes 51 seconds – he was 11th best male in the 44 to 49 age group.
This was 30 seconds faster than his previous best time at Lake Windermere.
“The result shows I’m improving with age,” he said.
“I do swim as often as I can and taking part in water polo sessions at the City of Newcastle pool helps my fitness.
“My first open water swim was a shock to the system but the water in Salford wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be. I enjoyed the swim and I’m definitely up for doing it again next year.”
To support Mr Ruffman’s fundraising efforts, visit