A former Olympic gold medallist is encouraging people to take on a swimming challenge to raise money for cancer research.

Duncan Goodhew MBE is calling on members of the public to take part in the 2023 Swimathon which will see swimmers taking part in sponsored events across the county in April and May.

The swimmer, who won a breaststroke gold medal in Moscow in 1980, is aiming to inspire people to take part by swimming up to 31km for charity.

Duncan, who grew up in Yapton near Arundel, said: “I swim as often as I can and will never stop championing this sport.

“The positive impact that it has both physically and mentally is undeniable, so I’m passionate about Swimathon because it helps to show that swimming is a fun, accessible, and exhilarating form of exercise.

“It is a truly inclusive event with so many ways to take part for every level of swimmer. You don’t need to be the fittest or the fastest.

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“You just need to try your best and enjoy yourself, while fundraising for two important charities who need our support.”

Organised swims, taking place between May 12 and May 14, will raise money for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.

Swimmers can also take part outside of organised sessions through MySwimathon, taking place from April 28 to March 21.

Money raised at the leisure centre events will also be used to help protect the venues from the cost of living crisis.

Swimathon launched in 1986 and has raised over £55 million for charitable causes with over 750,000 swimmers taking part.

Jayne Waterhouse, director of community fundraising at Marie Curie, said: “Swimathon is an iconic event in the Marie Curie calendar and one we all look forward to every year.

“The exciting and inclusive challenge sees thousands of people take the plunge with sponsored swims up and down the country, whilst raising money to help Marie Curie support those affected by terminal illness.”

Swimmers can sign up for events at swimathon.org. Events being held include at the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove and Prince Regent Leisure Centre in Brighton.