Hockings' family members Shayley, Samuel, Flynn (at back) and Saxon will take part in Saturday's Swimathon named after their brother, Harper, who drowned in 2008.
Hockings' family members Shayley, Samuel, Flynn (at back) and Saxon will take part in Saturday's Swimathon named after their brother, Harper, who drowned in 2008. Rob Williams

Swimathon remembers Harper and helps Hospice

SOME of the best legacies and most worthwhile ventures come from humble beginnings.

Just admire the Hockings' family, who have already raised more than $140,000 for Ipswich Hospice Care while honouring their son Harper.

After 16-month-old Harper tragically drowned in 2008, mum Elissa and husband Joshua joined with Swim Factory owner Peter McMahon to run a Swimathon.

The selfless purpose was to increase awareness about pool safety and to raise valuable funds for a vital Ipswich care facility.

The latest Swimathon is on Saturday at McMahon's pool at Woodend. It will be the seventh year it has been held with a range of fun activities planned on the day including a relay and celebrity race.

The focus is on kids, with a message to look after them near water and "always swim with a friend''.

In recent years, the family has also overseen a CrossFit event, staged at McMahon's Swim Factory.

The next challenge is on October 30 with Elissa expecting up to 90 teams.

"We turn the Swim Factory into a major CrossFit competition and every year it sells out,'' she said.

"We hire a big rig, off one of the big suppliers, and the boys build it on the Saturday afternoon (for the Sunday event).

"The CrossFit community is a huge community but we have lots of athletes that come. It's a huge day.''

Being involved has fitness and family benefits for the Hockings' family and Ipswich Hospice.

"Losing a child has far-reaching effects,'' Elissa said.

"We went looking for something and we found CrossFit.''

While the Swimathon and CrossFit competition provide fun, fitness and a challenge in Ipswich, Elissa has been overwhelmed by the community support and donations from vendors.

More than $140,000 has been raised from both events, helping Hospice provide important palliative care.

"That's not bad for a little community,'' she said. "It's a lovely legacy.

"Some of the big things they do that (raise tens of thousands of dollars) in one event.

"We don't have a major sponsor so there's no big corporate money in it.

"It's just mums and dads, and the people at CrossFit who are more than happy to help.''

Visit the WOD4HARPER Facebook page for more information.



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