Two young Ukrainian swimmers and their mum are to be given the chance to build a new life in Richmondshire.
The Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club community has rallied together to support Tymofii and Tkyhon, together with their mother Irina.
The family is due to arrive in the UK shortly.
They will be welcomed into their new home by a Richmond Dales ASC swim parent as part of the UK’s Ukrainian re-settlement scheme.
Once settled, coaches at the club will introduce the two committed young swimmers, who formerly swam for a Kyiv based club, to their new teammates and training programme.
The boys and their mother were forced to fleeing their home in Ukraine due to the war with Russia.
They arrived in Bulgaria where the Bulgarian Swimming Federation gave them access to training sessions and other support.
When Richmond Dales ASC, based in Richmond and Catterick pools, learnt that one of their members was involved in providing a home for the family, the club’s board and coaches decided to act.
The board pledged to waive membership fees for both swimmers, allowing them to train and continue their swimming careers.
Along with Swim England, which has also agreed to waive the boys’ annual membership fees, the club is also raising money via a Go Fund Me page to pay for the family’s flight into the UK from Bulgaria.
In addition, friends of the club, including NESS Swimwear, are rallying round to supply the boys with everything they will need to train effectively, including goggles, fins, kick-boards, snorkels, kit bags and anything else they may need.
Keith Hall, coach at Richmond Dales ASC, said: “The whole club community has been touched by the crisis taking place in Ukraine.
“At the outset of the war, club members raised £1,900 in under 24 hours and used the money to buy essential supplies.
“We then drove the supplies across Europe and into Poland as part of the Catterick and Colburn community effort, headed by Councillor Angie Dale.
Keith added: “As soon as we heard that a club member was taking a refugee family into their home we knew we wanted to help, and the fact that the boys are keen swimmers made us able to do this more easily.
“As ever, the whole club has come together along with some very generous friends like NESS Swimwear and Swim England.
“We hope that enabling the boys to join our supportive club will help them settle into their new environment and transition into UK life.”
The Go Fund Me page that has been set up to raise money to cover the costs of the family’s flights into the UK can be found here.
Any funds that are raised over and above the modest £500 target will be channelled towards funding the boys’ continuing development at the club including travel costs and competition entry fees.