Swimming gala in memory of Bapper

Colin Arthurs, Olivia Morris, Stuart Stretton, Ann McRoberts, Zara Morris launch the Swimming Gala in Dungannon Leisure Centre in memory of Gary 'Bapper' Morris.
Colin Arthurs, Olivia Morris, Stuart Stretton, Ann McRoberts, Zara Morris launch the Swimming Gala in Dungannon Leisure Centre in memory of Gary 'Bapper' Morris.

The swimming community of Dungannon are coming together for a special swimming gala Blowing Bubbles for Bapper, in memory of local coach Gary Morris who sadly passed away from a stroke last year.

The gala will take place at Dungannon Leisure Centre on Saturday, April 27, and will raise vital funds for local charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke.

Gary ‘Bapper’ Morris, as everyone called him, was a swimming coach at the leisure centre for many years, teaching kids and adults alike with his famous saying, “Blow bubbles for Bapper”.

Olivia Morris, Bapper’s wife, commented: “After he passed away we wanted to do something in Bapper’s memory. Last August we organised a tribute rock concert ‘Bapper’s Gig’ with some of Bapper’s favourite bands. The swimming gala will mark a final goodbye and we would like to encourage all keen swimmers to take part in this fun event. Bapper’s friends and staff of the leisure centre have put this event together in his memory and they want to give him the best send-off.”

Following a year of tireless fundraising and advocating around the Dungannon area, Olivia is now a fully-fledged and committed voluntary Community Ambassador for NI Chest Heart and Stroke and has plans to continue this amazing work, promoting the charity’s care and prevention services and supporting local people with their own fundraising activities.

“I am delighted that out of this tragedy, I am able to give back to the community as I take on the role of Community Ambassador for NICHS,” Olivia said.

She added: “This is a brilliant charity which needs our support.”

There are currently 20,813 people living with chest, heart or stroke conditions within the Mid Ulster Council area.

NICHS offers support for people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions and their carers through support groups and programmes in the local area.

Lorna Watson, Community Fundraising Co-ordinator, added: “We are delighted to welcome Olivia to our Community Ambassador Team. She will be an invaluable asset to us as she knows first-hand the devastation of stroke.

“Through this event, Olivia will be raising funds to help us invest in the care and prevention work we do in her local community so that she can be part of our fight against chest, heart and stroke illnesses.”

Everyone is welcome to take part and registration is £10 which includes a race day t-shirt and medal.

There will be staff and novelty races as well.

If you would like more information on this Swimming Gala event to honour Bapper please, contact Dungannon Leisure Centre on 028 8772 0370 or call in to the centre.