Ex-rugby league ref smashes swim challenge for Leeds Hospitals’ Charity appeal to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND

Former rugby league referee Dave Merrick has smashed his swimming challenge fundraising target for  the Leeds Hospitals’ Charity appeal to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND.

By Mark Lavery
Friday, 24th December 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Friday, 24th December 2021, 11:36 am
Dave Merrick
Dave Merrick

Dave, 45, of Pontefract, had planned to swim around a mile a day to reach his goal of completing 60 miles in the pool by Christmas Eve.

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He passed that milestone earlier this month and clocked up more than 87 miles after his final swim on Christmas Eve.

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Dave Merrick with Jason Wilcox and Callum Maxwell from Aspire at the Park and former rugby league professional player Wayne Godwin, who are all supporting him in his fundraising feat. Picture Tony Johnson

Rob, who has lost half-a-stone in weight, has swum an average of 110 lengths a day since starting his challenge at leisure centre Aspire at The Park in Pontefract on November 1.

He has so far raised more than £7,600 for the appeal.

Dave chose the original 60 mile target as it is roughly the distance between Pontefract and Old Trafford in Manchester, a journey Rob - also of Pontefract - made many times in his playing career with Leeds Rhinos.

Rob Burrow and his wife Lindsey pictured in August 2021

Dad-of-two Dave has fit his daily swim sessions in between working 12-hour shifts as a machine operator at Ardagh Glass in Knottingley.

Ardagh Glass mader a generous £1,000 donation.

And the rugby league community has supported Rob, especially Featherstone Rovers and Leeds Rhinos.

Dave is one of the coaching staff at Featherstone Rovers and the club has helped him publicise his challenge.

Former rugby league star Wayne Godwin also helped to promote it on social media.

Dave said: "I definitely enjoyed it and the support has been amazing.

"People I don't even know have been in touch to wish me well."

Dave was inspired by former rugby league star Kevin Sinfield’s fundraising challenges.

The Bradley Arms pub at Featherstone raffled one of Rob Burrow' s signed old Leeds Rhinos training tops.

Click here To support Dave Merrick’s swim challenge.

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