‘This Girl Can!’ says swim­mer

Sunderland Echo - - News - By Fiona Thomp­son fiona.thomp­son@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @fionath­omp­sonjp

A Sun­der­land swim­mer who found her sea legs by div­ing into the waves off Roker Beach is now in­spir­ing women across the coun­try to find their own way to fit­ness.

Gill Dando stars in the new video for the This Girl Can cam­paign, the Sport Eng­land project to pro­mote sport among women.

The 39-year-old fea­tures af­ter she was coaxed into au­di­tion­ing by fel­low swim­mers when film mak­ers vis­ited Fausto cafe, on Marine Walk.

The busi­ness has a sports and so­cial club which hosts lan­guage classes, yoga ses­sions, bike rides, runs and swims on Thurs­day nights and Sun­day morn­ings.

It was through its yearround bathing club that Gill dis­cov­ered a new love of out­door swim­ming.

Gill, who is an aunt to Lil­lie-Grace Dando, two, and cousin to Co­ral Ni­chol, five, and Phoebe Ni­chol, eight, hopes the video will en­cour­age­wo­m­en­to­take­u­pas­port as well as show chil­dren and young women they should not fear fit­ness be­cause they are self-con­scious.

“When I saw it, I nearly cried, just the mes­sage of it is so in­spi­ra­tional,” she said.

“I think it’s so lovely the way they have done it, it’s been made so taste­fully and it reaches out to any­body, all dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes and na­tion­al­i­ties.

“There are chil­dren in my fam­ily and it makes me re­ally proud and I can say, ‘I did that.’

“I’ve had a lot of other peo­ple share it on so­cial me­dia and other swim­ming groups on Face­book say­ing ‘I wasn’t go­ing to go out, but now I am’ and they’ve showed it to their sons and daugh­ters say­ing ‘This is mummy or daddy’s friend.’

“They’ve all taken dif­fer­ent mes­sages from it, which is re­ally pos­i­tive.

“I think if I’m on na­tional tele­vi­sion, swim­ming in front of cam­eras and not care, then any­body can.”

Gill Dando can be seen sea swim­ming in the new This Girl Can video.

Gill Dando stars in the This Girl Can video af­ter she au­di­tioned when a crew vis­ited Fausto cafe in Roker.

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