A free swimming initiative is set to make a splash this summer as it returns to South Shields.
Swim Safe, a programme of outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for children, is returning to Sandhaven beach between today and August 20.
The project is delivered in partnership between the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) charity.
Eight-year-old Lennon Hall, a pupil from Bede Burn Primary School, in Jarrow, attended more than 15 Swim Safe sessions last year at Sandhaven, inspiring his dream of becoming an RNLI lifeguard when he is older.
Jayne Hall, Lennon’s mum, said: “Lennon became hooked on Swim Safe last year and is very excited that it’s returning to Sandhaven.
“He really enjoyed the fun and interactive nature of the sessions and embraced all the sea safety messages – he practically lived in his wetsuit all summer and would have slept in it if he could!
It is imperative that youngsters across South Tyneside are aware of the potential dangers of being in and around open waterCoun Alan Smith
“Lennon has since invited the Mayor and Mayoress to Swim Safe, and is over the moon that they’ve accepted and will come along to see an interactive session in action.”
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Alan Smith, said: “We were extremely proud of Lennon when we read his letter. His fundraising efforts and his ambition to become a lifeguard make him a true inspiration for other young people.
“It is imperative that youngsters across South Tyneside are aware of the potential dangers of being in and around open water.
“The Swim Safe sessions are a great way for children to learn how to identify hazards and dangerous situations as well as build their confidence and water safety skill this summer, to set them up for the future.”
Parents can book their children onto a Swim Safe session at www.swimming.org/SwimSafe or simply come along on the day.
Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with t-shirt are all provided.