Andrew John headed to Aberavon Beach before his Christmas day turkey dinner to brave the freezing waves and raise money for the Swansea Bay Health Charity – which supports NHS fundraising in Swansea Bay, including cancer services.
Members of the rugby club, known as The Wizards, also held a quiz in the Talbot Athletic Ground’s clubhouse and raised £200 to donate to the cause.
The final result saw Mr John present a cheque for £1,000 to the health board’s official charity on behalf of the club before its recent game against Pontypridd.
Mr John said: “I’m not a keen swimmer so it certainly isn’t something that I’ve done before. It was just a matter of a quick dip and then straight out for a quick swig of rum and back home.”
When asked how the swim went he replied: “The polite response is… it was cold!”
Explaining his motivation, Mr John said: “There’s a number of supporters within the club who have had treatment for cancer in the hospital over the last couple of years and so I just wanted to support them more than anything.
“It was all a bit last minute but we plan to be better organised next year. Hopefully we can get more people form the club to join in – including some of the players – and raise more money.”
Lifelong Aberavon supporter, Tony Phillips, who has received treatment himself for cancer, said: “Our chairman took a dip in the sea on Christmas Day to collect money for the charity.
“I wanted to go in myself but I was little bit nervous – it freezes you from your toes up!”
Mr Phillips, aged 76, has raised over £20,000 for cancer over the years through organising various events.
He said: “What they did was amazing. When I was in the chemo clinic, every 10 minutes there was a cup of tea, chocolates and sandwiches coming, whatever you wanted. It was all free of charge.”
Cathy Stevens, Swansea Bay Health Charity’s fundraising officer, said: “Thank you to Andrew and everyone who supported him on his Christmas Day sea swim.
“This incredible donation will make a huge difference to patients and staff at the South West Wales Cancer Centre in making patients stay more comfortable, purchasing specialised equipment and any training required for equipment.”
Lead image: (left to right) Cathy Stevens, Swansea Bay Health Charity’s fundraising officer, Tony Phillips, supporter, and Aberavon RFC chairman Andrew John. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)
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