Bat Mitzvah girl inspires classmates to swim length of the English Channel to raise funds for Noah’s Ark
Jaye Okin, 12, from Hadley Wood, has inspired her classmates to swim the equivalent length of the English Channel on 26 June to raise money for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.
Jaye is preparing for 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 & Hendon Reform Synagogue, where they sorted out clothes and toys donated to the charity’s shops.
Jaye has already raised over £6,000 exceeding her £5,000 target. 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: “1,500 lengths seems like a lot of swimming but when I think of all of the children we could be helping, I’ll keep going!”
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: “It’s just fantastic that Jaye and the girls have set themselves such a challenging task for this special charity.”