The Thomas Smith Christmas Charity Swim has come a long way since its inception in 1998. Marking its 20th edition, this year’s event is set to take place on December 30th at its usual location, on the pier below Independence Garden in Sliema.
Held under the patronage of The President of Malta, the Christmas Charity Swim has become a longstanding tradition for locals and foreigners to gather for a morning of swimming and socialising. The event has become embedded within the Group’s culture, and people’s enthusiasm for the event is steadily noted through the considerable interest expressed.
The day starts off at 09:30, where people are invited to gather and register their participation. Registration can be placed at any one of the desks on the promenade or within the swimmers’ zone. No fee is placed on attendance but donations are highly encouraged. Participants are urged to ask family, friends and colleagues to sponsor their daring effort, to reach a minimum of €50 per participant. Contributions collected on the day are presented to The President at San Anton Palace in January, on behalf of the Malta Community Chest Fund – an organisation whose mission is to distribute funds to individuals and groups, to improve their quality of life. 2018 will mark H.E. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca’s last year as Head of State and the Group is excited to extend their gratitude towards The President and her team, in respect to all their support throughout the past five years.
Participation numbers keep growing each year, with 206 swimmers braving the cold and swimming for charity in 2017, assisting in generating the total sum collected of €8,000. 2016 recorded the highest participation rate at 330 and €14,000 total donations. Over the 20 years in which the Christmas Charity Swim has been held, a considerable amount of €110,000 was collected.
The day sees many people, old and young, first-timers and veterans, flocking to Sliema to make their mark through a brave jump in the cold waters of the Mediterranean. Wilfred Pirotta, a seasoned swimmer and one of the old-timers, has been supporting the cause since day one. “We’re a group of friends and we always meet and do it together. My mantra is ‘Il-baħar itik is-saħħa’.” A positive number of newcomers are welcomed each year, many of which feel the adrenaline rush that accompanies the extraordinary gesture and become yearly attendants.
Medals are awarded to each participant personally by The President of Malta once the swim is over, to mark the act of kindness. Coffee, whiskey and sandwiches are distributed to help swimmers get their vigour back.
Those who cannot attend but still would like to donate can forward their contribution via bank transfer to the following account: HSBC Bank (Malta) plc, 32, Merchants Street, Valletta. Account No.: 033-080037-002; Swift Code: MMEBMTMT; IBAN No: MT MT04MMEB44336000000033080037002. Further information can be requested at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Charity Swim Facebook page. Registration forms can be downloaded online and filled in prior to the event.
Image credit: David Axisa