Worthing’s popular Mayor Bob Smytherman went back to school last week. Not just once but four times – once on Monday to Storrington First, twice on Tuesday to Durrington First and Middle schools and on Friday to English Martyrs. And Bob’s back to school again next week on Friday at Vale First and Middle schools .
Bob is following in the footsteps of previous Mayors by making a tour of schools at this time of the year encouraging pupils to take part in the Mayor’s annual charity swim. This year will be the 20th year the charity swim has been held and the 20th year Trudi Starling involved in organising.
Trudi organised the first Mayor’s charity swim in 1995 while an instructor at the Aquarena. Unfortunately Trudi suffered a car accident in the late 1990s and one of her adult pupils Rowland Gibson volunteered to take a greater part in the organisation. Rowland was severely epileptic but in spite of his illness excelled in his chosen task with an ambition to raise £100,000.
Before his sudden death in 2010 aged 48 Rowland raised more than £70,000. Trudi promised Rowland’s family she would do her best to reach his target which has now been fulfilled. At his funeral Ann Sayers (then Mayor) announced the swim would in future be known as the Rowland Gibson Charity Swim.
Trudi and Rowland both dived in to help the Mayor raise money and last year the then Mayor Charles James actually dived in on the day.
Worthing Daily doesn’t know whether Bob will actually dive in this year but there is no doubt he has dived in metaphorically throughout this year immersing himself for his charities and Worthing.
We urge Worthing’s school children to dive in on his behalf.