Northampton great-grandfather, 84, dives in to go extra mile for charity swimming event

Denzil Holland.
Denzil Holland.

An 84-year-old Northampton great-grandfather who only ventures into the pool on holiday is in line to be the oldest competitor in a charity swimming event.

Denzil Holland, from Cherry Lodge, will be taking part in Swim Northants later this month, helping to raise money for Northampton Samaritans and The Lighthouse Centre.

The veteran fundraiser will be one of dozens of swimmers taking part in the event at The Mounts Baths on Sunday, July 20, with the aim of swimming a total of 65 miles – the distance between the two furthest points of the county – in a single day.

He said: “I only normally swim on holiday, just to have a quick dip and cool down, but I heard about Swim Northants and thought I’d give it a go.

“I’ve just got back from holiday in Fuerteventura so I’ve been practising out there. I’m feeling good and I’ll give it my best shot. I shall swim as many lengths as I can as it’s for two really worthwhile local charities.”

The event will see swimmers attempt to complete a total of 3,465 lengths of the 30 metre pool between them, the equivalent to 65 miles.

Competitors are asked for a minimum contribution of £25, which can be raised through sponsorship or by themselves. The fee can be paid through a dedicated page on Virgin Money Giving.

Rebekka Hammersley, from Samaritans, said: “We wanted to give people a challenge and the chance to do something really special.

“Nothing like this has ever been done before in Northamptonshire and we think it’s a brilliant way of encouraging people to get fit, have fun and raise money.”

Swim Northants will run from 8am to 5pm and people can complete as few or as many lengths as they choose.

The event is being supported by a number of Northamptonshire companies, including Hashrag, Re-Draw and Orange Juice Communications.

Anyone wanting to take part in Swim Northants can register at or follow @SwimNorthants on Twitter for all the latest news.

To make a donation visit