Video/Gallery: More than 2,000 swimmers including Laura Wright tackle Great East Swim 2015 at Alton Water

Thousands of people took park in the Great East Swim 2015 at Alton Water.

Thousands of people took park in the Great East Swim 2015 at Alton Water. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk soprano and SportsAid ambassador Laura Wright performed in front of large crowds before swimming half a mile at the reservoir.

The Great East Swim, one of East Anglia’s biggest mass participation sporting events, was run at Alton Water, near Ipswich, in partnership with Suffolk County Council and the Most Active County initiative, with the aim of increasing the county’s participation in sport and active recreation.

Altogether, there were 12 ‘waves’ of swimmers starting at hourly or half hourly intervals throughout the day with a variety of distances to appeal to all abilities, including half a mile, one mile, two mile and five kilometres. Many were raising money for charities, as well as achieving personal fitness goals.

Alex Jackson, event director of the Great East Swim, said: “I would like to say a big well done to all the swimmers who took the plunge at the Great East Swim on Saturday, and for helping to make it the biggest Great East Swim so far. The atmosphere was fantastic and it was great to see so many people rising to the challenge.

“The Great Swim series is all about enabling people of all abilities to enjoy outdoor swimming in a safe and controlled environment. We are very much looking forward to holding the event again next June.”

The event included a 250 metre swim for 60 Year 6 (aged 11) primary school pupils as part of the Great East Swim School’s outreach programme, a partnership between Suffolk County Council and Suffolk NORSE, which delivers the county’s school swimming programme.

Ex-England cricketer Matthew Hoggard also took part in the event, swimming a mile as part of his challenge to take on four of the Great Swims this summer in aid of the charity Cricket Without Boundaries.

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Spectators enjoyed a farmers’ market showcasing local produce and a range of cultural and sport-related stands in the Suffolk County Council Most Active County village.

Live entertainment during the day included performances from Laura Wright, the nationally-acclaimed Games Maker Choir, which performed at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Just Jay dance group, the Quattro Amici classical singers, the Children’s’ Theatre Company and the Co-op Juniors, who sang songs from their forthcoming Phantom of the Opera production.

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