Lesley Hyland

Brentwood Gazette: A maths teacher at a Billericay School is swimming the equivalent of the width of the English Channel at her local swimming pool, to raise money for a charity helping people with spinal injuries.

Lesley Hyland, 55, who teaches at St John's School, has become a keen swimmer in recent years and decided to take up the challenge of swimming 22 miles over the next 12 weeks.

The teacher began her mammoth swim in aid of spinal injury charity Aspire on September 7, and admitted that combining her work with swimming is somewhat demanding.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Ms Hyland Ms Hyland"]During the summer I did a lot of swimming and I was thinking this is going to be easy, but since I started teaching again I am finding it quite tiring. Over the past few years I have started swimming more because I thought it would help in keeping me fit, and I think doing this for Aspire is a really worthwhile cause. I try and do some swimming every night, at least five nights out of seven.[/quote]

Such dedication has already seen Ms Hyland rack up 12-and-a-half-miles and, having set herself the target of finishing by the end of October half-term, she is confident that all concerned at the school are right behind her.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Ms Hyland"]Pupils and staff have been great. A few of the other teachers have sponsored me, and we had a parents evening last week and some of the parents sponsored me as well. The maths teacher, whose absolute deadline to finish the challenge is December 1, admitted she has not always been an avid swimmer. Swimming actually used to be my least favourite sport, but then then I found a pool I really liked," she said. I suppose fitness got me into swimming really – I started using the gym but I prefer swimming. Running is quite painful, whereas swimming is one of the best forms of exercise you can do.[/quote]

Ms Hyland revealed her charity swim will even provide the inspiration for some of her GCSE statistics lessons once it is completed.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Ms Hyland"]I may use some of the data for class. I think it will be good for the children to realise the data is from a real-life situation.[/quote]

The pool Ms Hyland has been swimming in, at Benton Hall in Wickham Bishops, is only 20 metres long, meaning that by the time she completes the challenge she will have swam 1,760 lengths.

Although she admits finishing her challenge will be a relief, she made it clear that she has no plans to give up her favourite hobby thereafter.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Ms Hyland"]I will be really pleased once I'm finished," she said. "But I'm not going to stop swimming. I probably won't ever swim the actual Channel though – it isn't warm enough for me.[/quote]

Ms Hyland is aiming to raise £450 for Aspire, and has received £300 so far.

To find out how you can sponsor her call St John's School on 01277 623070.

Article and image by Billericay Gazette

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