Poppy the guide delights Swimarathon pupils with Wrea Green school visit

Poppy the guide dog joined members of Lytham St Annes Lions a trip to a Fylde school to show pupils just how beneficial their commendable charity effort had been

Ribby with Wrea Primary at Wrea Green was among a number of Fylde schools which took part in the most recent annual Lions Swimarathon to be held, in January 2020, and the school’s eight-strong team was among hundreds of swimmers who raised a bumper £15,000.

Guide Dogs for the Blind was a beneficiary of the event and the money raised allowed the Lions to pay for the first year’s training of a puppy as a guide dog, with naming rights included.

The Lions decided to invite schools which were participating in the Swimarathon to take part in a competition to name the dog and the winners was given the opportunity to meet the dog on a visit to the school.

Poppy the guide dog

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Ribby with Wrea took the honours, with pupils coming up with the name Poppy, but because of the Covid pandemic, which has put paid to this year’s Swimarathon along with so many other events, the visit had to be delayed until now.

Lytham St Annes Lions president John Lashmar, accompanied by fellow Lions Joe Woods, the long-time Swimarathon organiser, and Tom Lee, was delighted to take poppy along to the village school and said: “We are grateful to the Ribby with Wrea children for their efforts in the pool and for taking part in the competition.

“The involvement of pupils of schools such as Ribby with Wrea have been largely responsible for the success of the Swimarathon over the years and their support and that of everyone involved is very much appreciated.”

Lytham St Annes Lions president John Lashmar with Poppy and three of the Ribby with Wrea pupils who took part in the Swimarathon

Joe Woods said: “This has been a happy ending to what was another very successful Swimarathon. We aim to be back in 2022 and will be sending out details of how to take part.” The beneficiary of the 2022 event will be named at a later date.

The Swimarathon, traditionally held at the YMCA Pool in St Annes each January, is the Lion’s biggest annual fund-raiser and was due to be held for the 35th time when called off this year.

More than 500 swimmers in 64 teams were involved in the 2020 event.

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