STA is delighted to confirm that double Paralympic gold medallist Stephanie Millward MBE PLY DL is the new Ambassador for our ‘Swim to the Beat’ campaign fundraiser, which will run throughout February 2023 – Heart Month – to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Stephanie who has competed at four Paralympics in S9 and S8, winning 10 medals including two golds at Rio 2016, has been passionate about swimming from a young age and since her retirement has worked tirelessly to support several charities, including the BHF.
At 16 years old, Stephanie become the National 100m Backstroke Champion and was looking likely to qualify for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This shattered her world and it paused her swimming career for 10 years. With incredible determination, she then went on to represent Team GB and competed in national, European, World, Commonwealth and Paralympics competitions securing over 700 swimming medals – and in addition to her Paralympic success, she also won 12 World Championship gold medals.
Stephanie has had a glittering swimming career, which was rewarded with an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List, but living with MS from such a young age has been difficult and she has a real empathy for people who have gone or are going through the mental anguish of a life-altering diagnosis. This is why she is so keen to support charities like the BHF, and with ‘Swim to the Beat’ she is also able to back a fundraiser that combines her passion for swimming.
“I’m really proud to be officially supporting STA’s new Swim to the Beat campaign, in aid of the British Heart Foundation,” confirmed Stephanie, who is now a swimming teacher and a coach at Team Bath AS.
“I’m passionate about swimming, and I think ‘Swim to the Beat’ is such a wonderful idea because everyone can get involved, no matter your age or ability. It will be so much fun, all while raising funds for a great charity. My swimmers in Wiltshire will be joining in the fun, and I’d encourage all swim schools and clubs to also register to take part in February for Heart Month,” said Stephanie.
Zoe Cooper, STA’s Commercial Director said: She is honoured that Stephanie, a ten-time Paralympic Games medallist and swimming legend, has come on board as the ‘Swim to the Beat’ campaign Ambassador.
About Swim to the Beat
‘Swim to the Beat’ has been created by STA as a fundraising initiative for BHF, and will take place during February 2023 – Heart Month. Monies raised from the campaign will be used by BHF to fund vital scientific research that can save and improve the lives of people affected by heart and circulatory diseases.
Zoe adds: “The idea is to get everyone together to swim or splash to the beat, have fun and raise funds for the BHF. From babies playing and splashing to the ‘Beat’, to swimmers of all ages ‘beating’ their best times / distance in or outside of swimming lessons, to artistic swimmers, mermaids and aquatic fitness classes dancing and jumping to the ‘Beat’ – everyone of any age or swimming ability can get involved. It’s far-reaching, reflecting STA’s portfolio of activities, which is why we think this aquatic-themed fundraising campaign is so different and unique.”
“Plus, swim schools and clubs can host a ‘Swim to the Beat’ event at any time throughout February – we like the idea of Valentine’s Day, but there is no descript date, so events can be planned around your lessons and pool times,” said Zoe.
To get involved
All you need to do is register your swim school / club’s involvement here, and start planning your ‘Swim to the Beat’ event. To help, once you have registered, STA will send you a digital ‘Swim to the Beat’ fundraising pack, which contains lots of different ideas and a 5-step guide to hosting an event. In the pack you will also find BHF’s contact details, who can help with regional support and BHF fundraising kits, banners, buckets etc.
A digital media pack has also been created by STA, which contains lots of colourful ‘Swim to the Beat’ web and social media graphics to help you promote your event to customers.
Further, each registered swim school / club will receive two BHF t-shirts for their teachers. The top 3 fundraisers at every participating swim school / club will also each receive a BHF medal. A digital certificate can also be downloaded from the media pack, for swim schools / clubs to award to all participants.
From the British Heart Foundation, Ben Lee, Relationship Fundraising Manager and James Rogers, Area Fundraising Manager, have both been involved in working with STA to create ‘Swim to the Beat’, and they concurred: “Everyone has a heart precious to someone else: a devoted mum or dad, a beloved grandparent, an irreplaceable friend. When just one heart stops, countless more are left devastated by the loss. Heart and circulatory diseases kill 1 in 4 people in the UK – the impact is felt by us all. And people living with these conditions continue to need our invaluable information and support.”
Ben confirmed: “By working together with STA and now with Stephanie as our ambassador, we hope to gain the vital support needed from swim schools and clubs around the UK for ‘Swim to the Beat’, so that we can help create a world free from the devastation of heart and circulatory diseases.”