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News > Alumni news > TWGSB Alumnus, Keith Holt (Class of 1980) Co-Founds Swimming Charity With His Daughter

TWGSB Alumnus, Keith Holt (Class of 1980) Co-Founds Swimming Charity With His Daughter

Keith Holt attended TWGSB from 1973 to 1980 and has co-founded a charity called 'Likkle Swimmers' with his daughter, Charlotte.
18 Nov 2022
Written by Lucy Tipler
Alumni news
Charlotte and Keith Holt in Treasure Beach
Charlotte and Keith Holt in Treasure Beach

This worthwhile charity teaches children and adults in Jamaica how to swim and was set up following a drowning incident which happened to a family Charlotte was working for. She was determined to give back to a very supportive rural community in Jamaica and so the charity was born.

You can watch their video here which explains more: 

Keith tells us about his journey:

“Having spent 17 years in the City, 6 years looking after my own business and 14 years in a large private family orientated UK company, I'm proud to be associated with Likkle Swimmers as I am passionate about sport and the qualities & skills it brings to the development of young people.  I support the structure and finance arrangements of Likkle Swimmers as well as volunteering.

From our story comes our mission: we aim to reduce the incidence of drowning by providing swimming lessons and basic water safety techniques that could help save their lives and those of others to a rural community who live by the sea. Who knows where this journey will end but our challenge is to make this basic life skill accessible to all primary school children in Jamaica...we are starting here".

Charlotte's Story: 

The story began at a small countryside children’s nursery in Benenden, Kent, where Charlotte worked for a number of years. In May 2013 two little boys (Jake and Joe) arrived, and on day one each was assigned a key worker, one of whom happened to be Charlotte.

The following year, tragedy struck when the boys lost their father in a drowning accident whilst on holiday in the Jamaican fishing village of Treasure Beach, where the family had spent many previous family holidays. Early one morning on holiday, the elder boy then only four, and not yet able to swim, was paddling in the shallows when a riptide pulled him out to sea. His father raced into the sea and saved his life but then drowned before his eyes. The tragedy devastated the community of Treasure Beach, who lost a dear friend, and left two young boys fatherless.

Charlotte then joined the family as the boy’s nanny and the following year accompanied the boys and their mother to Treasure Beach, where she helped teach the elder boy to swim, and gave him the confidence to go back into the sea. Charlotte saw at once that Treasure Beach was a close community and a very special place, and it was there that she watched the boys, after so many heartbreakingly difficult months of grief, begin to recover their spirit for life.

In February 2016, Charlotte returned to Treasure Beach with the family, this time as a friend. It is a remote, rural village, with no public funds or facilities for the children, and during this second visit she began to see that her childcare skills and experience were something she could offer.

While Charlotte had been staying in Treasure Beach, its annual triathlon had taken place. She offered to help out, and was put in charge of registering entrants to the junior contest. Surprised by how few local children were competing, she was dismayed to discover that this was because barely any could swim. With no access to a safe pool or swimming lessons, they are growing up beside the sea but unable to swim. One tragic consequence of this has been the number of lives the village has lost to the ocean in drowning accidents.

Charlotte, being a keen swimmer, realised this was a life-saving skill she could offer to the community, so she decided to set up a charity (Reg. number 1170956) and a team to provide access to a local pool equipped with floatation aids and life guards, and returned to Treasure Beach in 2017 to teach the local children to swim.

The charity taught 87 children in 2017 and to this date, they have taught over 527 children and adults, many of whom stay on to progress through the swimming stages.

Typically, the programme costs approximately £15,000 each year to run so any contribution is much needed and always welcome.  

If any of our readers are interested in helping this worthy cause, please donate at: Just Giving - Likkle Swimmers

For any sponsorship offers to help the charity in any way, please email: keith@likkleswimmers.com

Types of sponsorship they are looking for:

  • Teacher Sponsorship - £600 per teacher
  • Drivers / Transport £2500 (Mario & Pete without whom the children wouldn’t get to the lessons as some live an hour away and have no access to their own transport)
  • Public liability insurance - £1,000 for the program
  • Pool maintenance - £950
  • Mini Anne manikins to teach CPR - £56 x  8 to aid our first aid and life saving course that we are introducing in the next year's programme
  • T-Shirts for the children & staff – donated in 2022 but typically £2500 for 400 including printing of the LS logo
  • Rash Vests approx. £300 for teachers & lifeguards
  • Always on the lookout for good condition second hand/new swimwear for the children

More details can be found here: 

Web: www.likkleswimmers.com
Instagram
Facebook
LinkedIn


Keith also told us about a charity football match he is playing in, so if any of his year group or fellow alumni would like to sponsor him for great causes, please do so below: 

Keith writes, "I think some of your ex-sports masters (Nev Kito, Dave Madin) maybe interested to learn that I am still playing football at the age of 60 having captained the Tunbridge Technical High School for Boys 1st XI in 1980.

Indeed, I am participating in a charity 5 aside tournament in Dublin on 11th December hosted by my Irish work colleagues. Money raised will go to supporting three fabulous charities one of which will be Likkle Swimmers, the others being:

SOSAD (save our sons and daughters) which provides counselling and support to those people who are suicidal and people affected by suicide.

Woodies Heroes Charity - specifically, to support an Early Years Communication Programme for children with Down's syndrome".


Keith bottom row, far left

The link to Keith's football fund-raising page is: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/keith-holt

Please tell us your news: connect@twgsboys.kent.sch.uk

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