Lifesavers aim to make a big splash

Blyth's lifesaving team pictured together before they take the plunge Down Under.
Blyth's lifesaving team pictured together before they take the plunge Down Under.
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Blyth’s Baywatch best are preparing to make a splash Down Under as they represent their country.

Blyth Lifeguard and Swimming Club will form the backbone of the England team in the Commonwealth Lifesaving Championships being held in Australia with six members while another will represent Scotland.

The team has been helped on its way thanks to a £1,000 donation from Procter and Gamble (P&G) through its Employees Charity Fund programme.

Away from their training base at Blyth Swimming Pool, the volunteer lifesavers patrol the beaches between Blyth and Seaton Sluice at weekends.

Now England members Andrew Kane, 26, sisters Lauren, 17, and Rachel Carroll, 15, Charlotte Duff, 16, Charley Gourley, 17, and Jake Power, 17, together with Nikki Gray, 26, who will line up for her native Scotland, are honing their lifesaving skills ahead of the trip to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra on August 27.

Blyth and England team manager Michele Weedy – who will be supported by Linda Taylor and Zelah Dickerson – headed the selection panel for the 20 athletes to represent England.

Michele said: “It just so happens that as a club we have exceptional athletes and have had for the last few years so we’ll be looking for a podium finish, possibly third. The Aussies are favourites but we are capable of getting third.”

Michelle Duff, of P&G, and Charlotte’s mother, said: “For six of the Blyth team to represent England out of a team of 20 is fantastic.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. These athletes have worked for eight to ten years to get to this level and train up to 20 hours every week.”

Anyone who wants to make a donation to help the club finance the trip should contact Maureen Harrison on 07774 842552 or email micheleweedy@yahoo.co.uk