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A Virtual Journey Halfway Across The World

 

The Llantwit Major Surf Lifesaving Club has not let the lockdown prevent its members from staying active.

The club has been running since 1963 and, around 58 years later, it is still going strong.

During the current lockdown, the club has challenged its members to cover the distance from Llantwit Major to Australia.

The incredible challenge has encouraged all those involved to help reach the Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club, 10,698 miles away, in Sydney.

Club members are free to take part in any way they like. Whether they jog, walk or cycle outside or take part indoors, on a running or cycling machine.

I Spoke to Jon Foster, who is the junior coordinator for the club, and has been involved with lifesaving for around 10 years now, spending four of those at the Llantwit major club. Speaking about his role at the club he said:

“There are many people involved with running the club, but I look after the junior section. We have members from around 7/8 years old right up to adults. The aim of the club is to train kids and young adults to be lifeguards.”

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The club would usually train several times a week, but when the first lockdown began last year, the club had to keep its members engaged with online quizzes and training programmes. The club then went back to training on the beaches around June last year, but since the second lockdown began in December, those in charge have had to think of something else to keep members engaged.

Speaking about the Australia challenge, Jon said:

“We wanted to do something that was open to all. So, we decided that we would challenge ourselves to virtually do the distance from Llantwit to a lifeguard’s club in Australia, that we have a relationship with.

“We started in around late January and the response has been amazing. We’re about 500 miles now from our destination and we hope that we can reach our target by the end of this weekend.”

Llantwit Major Surf and Lifesaving Club hopes that it can encourage more people to join in through social media posts about the challenge and people have already shown interest in the last few months. The club looks forward to getting back to normality, hopeful in the near future, with a few new members after lockdown ends.

John added: “It’s been quite challenging because normally we’d be doing our lifeguard awards at this time of year, but some of our juniors have been awarded jobs with the Royal National Lifeboat institution this summer, which is amazing. It just goes to show that even in these difficult times we can still achieve great things.”

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