Group shot with British endurance swimmer Anna Wardley on stage.


British endurance swimmer Anna Wardley, 40, has announced the Official Charity Partners for her Balearic Swim Challenge at an event held at Palma Aquarium. Anna will undertake the 215-km swim between Minorca and mainland Spain in support of three marine-related charities, with each of the three stages being linked to one of the three Balearic-based organisations.

The world record-setting swims, taking place between May and July next year, will raise money for Joves Navegants (Leg 1 from Minorca to Majorca), Marine Inspirations (Leg 2 from Majorca to Ibiza) and the Marine Animal Rescue project based at Palma Aquarium (Leg 3 from Ibiza to mainland Spain). Joan Noguera, director of the Spanish government’s Balearic Sport Foundation, spoke at the  launch: “I think it’s important that the government is involved in this kind of event and we’ll be showcasing it on our website”. “Anna is an inspiration, not only for young people, but for everyone because of her mental strength and physical determination. She’s an example for everyone, even professional sportsmen and women. We are pleased Anna has decided to do her challenge in the Balearic Islands as it draws attention to our part of the world.”

Anna said she was “overwhelmed” by the enthusiasm and support already shown for her Balearic Swim Challenge. “It’s incredible how positive and enthusiastic people are about this project and they seem to understand the magnitude of the challenge I’m facing. I’m absolutely delighted to be supporting Joves Navegants, Marine Inspirations and the Marine Animal Rescue project through this series of endurance swims, and the whole team is really looking forward to collaborating with these great organisations over the coming months. I now need as many people as possible to back my #NeverDuckOut Crowdfunder fundraising campaign as this is essential to cover our vital costs. This is a huge endeavour and we really need people to get behind it.”

Marine Inspirations is a mentoring programme for young people from less-advantaged backgrounds providing hands-on seamanship experience and an insight into working in the superyacht and international maritime industry. Co-founder Anthony Just said youngsters taking part in their programmes were already working with Anna to support her training: “We took four young people from South Africa on a sailing trip to Ibiza and it was a no-brainer that Anna should come along as part of her training. So our team helped her get into the water, tracked her swimming, helped with the equipment – there was an immediate synergy. Marine Inspirations and Anna’s challenge partner so perfectly.” Anna will be in the water on her own for the solo attempt, which will be tracked by satellite and independently verified by a team of observers.

Paco Segura from Joves Navegants, a project which helps boost the confidence, life skills and employment prospects of disadvantaged young people through sailing, also spoke at the event. He said: “Any money raised will go directly towards helping our projects such as taking youngsters out on the water around Majorca, doing things like cleaning beaches and introducing them to environmental issues. We’re also looking to replace our RIB, so regardless of how much is raised it’ll be put to some fantastic uses.”

At the launch, Anna also launched her #NeverDuckOut Crowdfunder campaign, which aims to raise money over the next eight weeks to fund the challenge. Supporters of Anna’s challenge purchase a ‘money can’t buy’ reward and the funds raised goes towards her attempt.

One of the most spectacular rewards is the opportunity to release a rehabilitated sea turtle back into its natural habitat in the Mediterranean, thanks to the Marine Animals project. Debora Morrison, from the Marine Animals Rescue project, said: “We are offering the chance not only to release a turtle back into the wild, but also to come to the centre and watch the vets in action. That part of Palma Aquarium is usually off-limits to the public, so this is a rare opportunity to see the biologists and conservationists in action. This is just one of many ways that we’re working with Anna to help her raise money and showcase what we do as part of this great programme to protect marine life.”

To bid for this once in a lifetime #NeverDuckOut reward and to find out more about Anna’s Crowdfunder campaign, visit The campaign aims to raise £50,000 will run until 31 December 2015.