FAMILY SUPPORT: Siblings (from left) Shayley, 5, Flynn, 11, and Dusty, 3 are ready for the Swim Factory’s annual swimathon held in memory of their drowned brother.
FAMILY SUPPORT: Siblings (from left) Shayley, 5, Flynn, 11, and Dusty, 3 are ready for the Swim Factory’s annual swimathon held in memory of their drowned brother. David Nielsen

Swimathon to honour life of young Harper

IF HE were alive today, little Harper Hockings would be eagerly planning for his eighth birthday.

Instead the blond, blue-eyed boy's bright smile is frozen in time, forever 16 months old.

It was at that young age that Harper drowned in a backyard swimming pool accident in March 2008.

Although he is gone, his memory lives on through the love of his family and the important message they have to share.

Each year, the Harper family joins forces with the Peter McMahon's Swim Factory in Woodend to hold an annual swimathon.

The event raises funds to assist Ipswich Hospice in providing counselling services as well as care for the terminally ill.

The memorial day also serves as an important reminder for parents to be vigilant about water safety.

"We hold this event in October because it's the start of the swim season," Harper's dad Josh said.

"It's a bittersweet affair for my family and I, but we are always humbled by how many people come out to honour Harper."

Entering its sixth year, the event raised more than $23,000 in 2013.

Mr Hockings said he was pleased to have been able to create something positive out of his family's tragedy.

"Spreading the message about pool safety is so important," he said.

"Even if it saves the life of just one child, it's all worth it."

The swimathon event will be held at the Swim Factory this Saturday from 11.30am to 3.30pm in addition to other activities.

A CrossFit event will also be held at the venue on October 26, from 8.30am to 4pm. Sponsorship forms can be obtained at the Swim Factory. For more information phone 3812 2923.



First baby born in hospital's new maternity ward

premium_icon First baby born in hospital's new maternity ward

There were lots of staff in the room. I didn't know what to expect.

EXCLUSIVE: How our new city centre will look

EXCLUSIVE: How our new city centre will look

Details released for new CBD master plan

Inspired effort: Why Games medallist loves helping kids

premium_icon Inspired effort: Why Games medallist loves helping kids

Ipswich achiever takes time out to encourage young players

Local Partners