AN annual swimathon in memory of a Gwent teenager who died after being diagnosed with leukaemia, has raised more than £12,000 for charity.

More than 500 swimmers of all ages and abilities came together at Monmouth School for Girls for the second annual Swim for Tom event - in memory of Tom Walker, from Devauden.

A pupil at Monmouth School for Boys and a member of Monnow Swimming Club, Tom died unexpectedly aged 13 in June 2018, following an operation he required before starting treatment for myeloid leukaemia.

Since his death, Tom's 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 wider community. That target was reached last summer, but the fundraising is continuing.

Holly Walker (below left) and her friend Katie Cameron (below right), organised the second Swim For Tom event. All the money raised will go to Cancer Research Wales.

South Wales Argus:

Overall, 37,519 lengths were completed by the hundreds of participants during the 12-hour event.

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


“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 did not only take place at Monmouth School for Girls. Some swimmers, including Olympian Tom Haffield, completed lengths at other venues across the region, which all contributed to the tally.

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

“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 swimming 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.”

South Wales Argus:

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

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

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, visit the Swim for Tom website at