MONMOUTH’S community came together this week as more than 500 people took part in an annual swimathon to raise funds in memory of a teenage boy who died after a battle with cancer in 2018.

Swimmers of all ages and abilities joined together at Monmouth School for Girls on Sunday, January 12 for the second annual Swim for Tom event, which raised more than £12,000 for Cancer Research Wales.

Tom Walker - from Devauden - was a pupil at Monmouth School for Boys and a member of Monnow Swimming Club. He died unexpectedly aged just 13 in June 2018 following an operation required to start treatment for myeloid leukaemia.

Since Tom's death, his family – dad, Tim; mum, Debbie; and sisters Holly and Emily - have led efforts to raise more than £100,000 for a research fund, supported by his friends and the community.

Holly Walker – Tom’s sister – and her friend Katie Cameron, organised the fundraising event for the second time.

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Holly Walker (left) and her friend, Katie Cameron, were two of the main organisers of this year’s Swim for Tom.

Overall, 37,519 lengths were completed by over 500 swimmers during the 12-hour event, from 9am to 9pm.

Tom’s father, Tim Walker, thanked those who took part, saying: “It is so pleasing that Swim for Tom has become such a feel-good community event.

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“I’d like to say a huge thank you to a magnificent team of helpers, to Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools, to Monnow Swimming Club, and to all the lifeguards, swimmers, an army of cake bakers, and everyone else who donated.”

The fundraising didn’t only take place at Monmouth School for Girls on Sunday. Some swimmers, including Olympian Tom Haffield, completed lengths at other venues across the region over the previous week, which all contributed to the tally.

Mr Walker added: “Swim for Tom is about competing with each other to reach a single goal, and not against each other.

“Many people of all abilities pushed themselves to swim further than they had ever done before, including many beginners.

“We are also very grateful to Monmouth-based business, Mandarin Stone, for their generous hat sponsorship and to Dylan Allman, a 13-year-old pupil at Monmouth School for Boys, for creating the Swim for Tom website, which made the administration of this year’s event so much easier.”

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Members of Monnow Swimming Club, parents and friends notched up 4,070 lengths during their event.

Children at Monmouth Schools Pre-Prep and Nursery got this year’s event underway, chalking up almost 500 lengths on Friday afternoon.

Members of Monnow Swimming Club, parents and friends then took part in their leg, notching 4,070 lengths, with one swimmer, Rhys Williams, compiling 162 lengths in an hour.

Some of the swimmers came from further afield – none more so than Lou Scott, who flew in from Italy for the event and amassed an astonishing 404 lengths on the day.

For more details about the event – or to make a donation, you can visit the Swim for Tom website: