Donation helps Stingrays keep swimming

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The Annual Monk Fryston Ball was held this year on February 24 2018 and prior to this I was invited to propose Tadcaster Stingrays to be the charity of this year, writes columnist Jemima Browning.

The organisers accepted and the incredible event went ahead with Stingrays at the centre.

The organisers are Lee Hayes, Sarah Thornton and Becky Gatenby, they are fantastic and organise the event every year. All the proceeds from the evening were donated to Stingrays.

I am very grateful to Lee, Becky and Sarah, they all worked so hard to make the evening as special as possible. It was hosted in the magical setting of Monk Fryston Hall and the evening was truly special.

I was amazed to receive the incredible sum raised - £5,819.34. I hoped we might receive enough to sustain Tadcaster Stingrays in the future.

The annual event actually raised enough to do this and buy some extra exciting things for the swimmers.

We have bought poolside t-shirts, organised an in-house gala and developed Personal Development Records.

The Poolside t-shirts are a fantastic symbol of the team spirit and inclusion we have within the club.

They will really help all the swimmers feel identified as the Stingrays team at galas. They can wear it and feel proud to be included in a team where they are accepted. They all loved the t-shirts and could not wait to put them on!

The In-house gala/Club Championships is in the process of being organised. It is a chance for each of the swimmers, regardless of disability or classification, to compete in a friendly environment. They will be awarded with medals for Bronze, Silver and Gold on ribbons in the Stingrays team colours. All the team a very excited.

The event will give each swimmer the same opportunity to succeed that their mainstream peers experience.

The Personal Development Records will be such a brilliant tool used by swimmers, parents and coaches. They are a way of communicating the swimmers’ goals to the coaches, the achievements of the swimmers to the swimmers and the next steps/areas of focus for the future.

These will be used as a review process three times a year to ensure the sessions are tailored to the swimmers wants and needs and the progress is seen and celebrated.

The most important thing to me is the fact that the ball has given Tadcaster Stingrays the ability to be sustainable for the future.

This means the Squad can keep providing opportunities to the young people who would not naturally find them.

We can continue to improve swimming skills and communication skills, keep friendships ongoing and allow each swimmer to continue to belong to a group.

This is extremely important because some young people with disabilities can feel so isolated and different. We want to stop every child or young person feeling this way while keeping fit and having fun swimming. As a group we pride ourselves on training together as a team.

For Lee, Sarah and Becky to have chosen Stingrays was an amazing feeling.

They, alongside everyone who attended the ball, have allowed for such incredible progress and new changes be made to sustain and expand the Stingrays Squad.

All the swimmers, the parents and I are so grateful to the committee and the ball attendees.

We will be forever indebted to them for what they have allowed us at Stingrays to do and achieve.

Thank you, Lee, Sarah, and Becky.