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Jaye completes channel charity challenge for children

28 JUNE 2019

Bat Mitzvah girl and her classmates swim length of the English Channel to raise funds for Noah’s Ark

Jaye Okin, 12, from Hadley Wood, inspired her classmates to swim the equivalent length of the English Channel (21 miles) on 26 June to raise money for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.

The brilliant group of young people from Queenswood School have managed to raise over £7,000 already. Initially, Jaye was aiming to raise £5,000 but the success of the swim has led her create a new target – she wants to raise £8,219 to pay to run Noah’s Ark for a day. If she raises that extra money, it will fund the running of the charity on the date of her Bat Mitzvah in May 2020. 

When she reads from the Torah to mark that religious milestone, she’ll be reading a section focused on charity and community; this resonated so deeply with her that she immediately decided to undertake a major charitable activity.

Swimming is one of Jaye’s many hobbies (she’s been swimming since aged two!), so when deciding what activity to do, together with her head of year, Miss Chloe Bassett, she came up with the ingenious idea of getting her whole year group at Queenswood School to join her in the sponsored swim. She chose to do it for Noah’s Ark having been inspired by doing a Mitzvah Day activity with her synagogue, Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue (EHRS), where they sorted out clothes and toys donated to the charity’s shops.

Her funds are supporting seriously ill children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Jaye was partly drawn to supporting Noah’s Ark because of the building of The Ark, the new children’s hospice which will be opening this year in Barnet, North London.

Jaye said: “We all had so much fun swimming and I can’t believe how generous everyone has been!”.

Alison Goodman, Director of Fundraising at Noah’s Ark, said: “I have the utmost respect for Jaye and her brilliant classmates – what an inspiration! I certainly admire her get-up-and-go! Jaye has raised a huge amount of money to help seriously unwell children and their families and we are so grateful. Thank you to Jaye and everyone at Queenswood school.” 

Jo Cameron, Principal of Queenswood School, said: “I am so proud of Jaye and her year group. Swimming the distance of the English Channel in a single afternoon is such an impressive and inspiring initiative and I cannot think of a worthier local cause than Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.”

Jaye’s mum, Michelle Okin, said: “We were bowled over to see the enthusiasm and effort that went into the swim and just what can be achieved when a community gets together.” 

To support Jaye, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/uz4m2-a-cause-i-care-about-needs-help

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