Belper Marlin swimmers splash the cash for motorbike crash teen Callum

HEADS UP FOR CALLUM -- some of the Belper Marlin youngsters who took part in the Mega Swim.
HEADS UP FOR CALLUM -- some of the Belper Marlin youngsters who took part in the Mega Swim.
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Caring swimmers at the Belper Marlin club went the distance for a good cause in their annual Mega Swim for charity.

For more than 100 youngsters, aged six upwards, swam endlessly for an hour at the Belper Leisure Centre pool to raise money for the Heads Up For Callum campaign.

Eighteen-year-old Callum Bradley, who lives in Belper and is a former Marlin member, suffered serious injuries, despite wearing full protective gear, when he came off his motorbike in a crash on the A610 at Ambergate in November 2014.

After prolonged treatment and operations in hospital, with help from an amazing team of doctors and nurses, he made a fine recovery. But now Callum and his family have launched the Heads Up campaign to raise funds for the critical care unit at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and the neurological unit at the Royal Derby Hospital. The campaign also aims to target 16-to-20-year-olds to raise awareness of the importance of wearing the right clothes and protection when out riding motorbikes or mopeds.

In the past, the Marlins’ Mega Swim has raised many thousands of pounds for research into Parkinson’s Disease and and also for Alfreton Special School. But this year, it was the turn of Callum’s charity, so every length the swimmers completed meant a little extra sponsorship money in the pot.

The older swimmers managed to cover more than four kilometres in distance, but the younger swimmers excelled themselves too. Some children, who would be expected to swim a maximum of five or six lengths, ploughed up and down to rack up a mile and more!

It was a tremendous effort, all topped off by Callum himself coming down to the pool and joining in. With a team of friends from his days at the club, he showed that he has not forgotten how to cut through the water at speed! Sponsored by family, friends, classmates and teachers at Belper High School, his team of six smashed an inividual club record before celebrating at poolside.

All the Marlin youngsters, who were cheered on and congratulated by their parents, received a badge for their sterling swims and got the chance to look at Callum’s bike equipment, plus photographs of his horrific ordeal which, hopefully, taught them a valuable lesson for the future.