Julia makes a splash for charity


Team SplashLast Sunday, 7th July, Julia Roberts and Team Splash took to the pool for a charity swimming gala to raise money for The British Polio Fellowship and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

As many of you know, Julia has written her first book and autiobiography, 'One Hundred Lengths of the Pool' which tells the story of her life including the fight with polio when she was a child and how the British Polio Fellowship taught her to swim as part of a rehabilitation programme after contracting polio at the age of 14 months.

Julia says "Swimming helped to strengthen my severely weakened left leg, along with ballet classes, to the point where I was able to start my career as a professional dancer".

Julia's SwimMany of you may know that Julia was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia 14 months ago and from this, the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is another charity which has become close to her heart.

After several months of organising, she had a team of willing volunteers that included her daughter Sophie, staff from QVC, paralympic Gold and Silver medalist, James Crisp, and former England footballers, John Salako and Geoff Thomas.

While Julia swam 101 lengths of the 25-metre pool, Team Splash took to the pool for a variety of races including a pyjama relay, tea trays race, an obstacle course and a lilo race to name but a few! If you'd like to congratulate Julia on her great achievement, take a look at her blog and find out more about the event. If you'd like make a donation to Julia and Team Splash, the link for her virgin money page is:



Here are some thoughts from swimmers and supporters on the day…


Natalie Gray

"It was a fabulous day bringing together two great charities, Leukaemia & Lymphoma and British Polio, with people who work with and know Julia. It was great to meet people and supporters from the respective charities and to learn more about the work they do and how the individuals were linked to the charities with their own individual stories.

"The best part for me was to see the support Julia received from everyone particularly when everyone jumped in the pool to join her on her final length of the 101 that she swam. It must be added this was on the hottest day of the year and not only did she contend with the heat and swimming 101 lengths (whilst also shouting out instructions on the races when people were unsure of the rules) She also had it in her to then race against paralympian James Crisp and WIN!

"A fantastic day to support great charities whilst having fun and best of all was seeing my friend, Jools, accomplish so much."


Julia swimmingDebbie Flint

"For me, it was all about the camaraderie, the making an effort to show up and support a great cause (even after my 2am finish on air!), and the chats with fab viewers and colleagues.

"Plus, the admiration for a colleague whom I'd admired anyway, but seeing her do that swim – at double the normal length pool! – was inspiring. I loved the race with James Crisp too – he was such a sport. After a day like that, it puts your own 'problems' in perspective."


Pete Thomson

"I thought the day was great fun! All the swimmers were keen to get involved regardless of how silly we might look and it was all worth it. Knowing Julia and what she has been through gave the rest of us a great incentive to make the morning fun, positive and successful.

"Personally it was great to meet Geoff Thomas (Crystal Palace hero) who has battled hard with Leukaemia, and James Crisp (Paralympic Gold and Silver Mediallist) was truly amazing, but I reckon I could beat him (with a few years practice)!

"The highlight of the day was to see Julia finish her 101 lengths of the pool with a wave of swimmers behind her cheering her on.  A great day, great cause and I cannot wait for next year."


JuliaRoxsanne Slatford

"The thought of standing on the starting blocks with the crowd cheering got my heart racing and the fact that it was for such a good cause was even more exciting. The water was crystal clear and inviting, the competition not so much. Out came the goggles, towels and props! Julia made her way to the water and then the fun began!

"I did the pajama race, the obstacle course, a relay race and a race on an inflatable raft with my team! We were fortunate enough to have great support from QVC customers and met a few celebs on the way too! We all swam with Julia on her last lap for support and we even had an awards ceremony where we all received medals for taking part!"


Tanya Wall

"What an amazing idea to raise funds for Leukaemia! It was a really fun day even after the stressful journey there on the M25! I brought my 13-year-old son, Josh, to support and cheer me on. I swim a mile twice a week at my local pool but I still found each race quite gruelling.

"Each race was different and sometimes you only had to use one hand whilst balancing a tea tray, cup and plate on top! The last race was the lilo race where the each team raced eachother on one huge lilo, I thought how hard can that be?! Well it was hard! I could barely even get of the pool after!!

"It was lovely being a part of the Lukemia team even though we ended up in third place draw (basically last!) but I was indeed very proud to be a part of a team to raise money for these fantastic charities. Congrats Jules for organising this great event and for swimming 2.5km and raising an amazing amount of cash!! Also it was so lovely seeing all the lovely QVC customers supporting us all the way and chatting with them all afterwards :)"


Congratulations Julia and Team Splash for raising over £4,000 for the British Polio Fellowship and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Take a look at Julia's blog on Friday for more information about the event

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