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by Paul Wright
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Some of the world’s biggest sports stars, music legends and Hollywood actors have lent their support to an 11-year-old schoolgirl as she becomes one of the first members of the public to swim in the London 2012 Olympic swimming pool.
Golfing legends Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Colin Montgomerie joined electronic music superstars Depeche Mode, actor Rhys Ifans and a host of other big names in donating to Mia Moon’s bid to raise money for Sports Relief.
The young St John’s Wood resident hopes to swim 1,500m in the newly-built pool at the London Aquatics Centre, in the Olympic Park, Stratford, where Ellie Simmonds won four London Paralympics medals in 2012.
A mass Twitter campaign, in which Mia sent more than a 1,000 tweets in just five days, has seen her charity fundraising go around the world, so far raising more than £700.
Mia’s original target of raising £100 was smashed in just one day and she has now had to revise it to £1,000 – a total she hopes to achieve before she joins others for the swimathon on March 23.
“The London Olympics was inspiring and it’s made me determined to become an Olympian,” said Mia, a pupil at UCL Academy in Swiss Cottage.
“But it was really the Paralympics that drove me to want to raise money for good causes. I love helping charities and my community and I hope to inspire other young people to do the same.
“It’s great receiving all these donations from so many big sports stars, but my favourite was from the founder of Swimming Nature, Eduardo Ferre.
“He wrote to me saying I had inspired his 10-year-old daughter to swim for charity too.”
The swimathon is part of the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games, which takes place from March 21 to 23.
There are more than 600 participating pools nationwide, with Mia swimming at the most prestigious location – the Olympic Park.
Her father Steven, who is a scuba diving instructor, says the success of the Twitter campaign was “quite extraordinary”.
“We’re a bit Luddite in our household so we had very little idea what Twitter was when we started,” he said.
“But then before you know it, Mia’s getting donations from these huge global superstars – from across the world.
“Our first donation was from Depeche Mode – as one of the members of the band is a neighbour, but we’ve had so many other big names donate too, it shows how global fundraising can be nowadays.”
The money raised will be spent by Comic Relief on good causes to help vulnerable people in the UK and around the world.
And as London 2012 saw China’s Ye Shiwen break a world record aged just 16, Mia hopes the hard training she has to do will pay off and see her become another young Olympian.
“I think I’m too late for Brazil 2016, but hopefully I’ll be there in 2020,” she said.
* If you would like to sponsor Mia, visit http://my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/moon.