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Alastair Campbell to swap spinning for swimming

Alastair Campbell, courtesy Great North Swim

Broadcaster, communicator and political strategist Alastair Campbell will take on the Arla Great North Swim on Sunday 11 June at Brockhole on Windermere.

The former Labour spin doctor, celebrity Burnley FC fan and co-host of hit podcast The Rest is Politics will embark on a one-mile open water swimming challenge in the stunning surroundings of the Lake District National Park.

Campbell, a regular outdoor swimmer, has credited getting out in nature and into the open water as an effective way to support his mental wellbeing. He has been open about his own challenges with depression and is an ambassador for a number of organisations supporting those living with mental health issues and addiction including; Re-Think Mental Health, Time to Change and Alcohol Concern.

Campbell said: “I truly believe we need to break the stigma surrounding mental health. Everyone needs to be aware of their own mental wellbeing and understand why it’s important to pay attention to it.

“Prioritising my physical health has been an important part of increasing my mental resilience. Exercise on its own is not a cure all for severe mental health issues, but it’s an important tool for managing my depression. It helps me feel better, quicker when I’m struggling.

“Open water swimming events, like the Arla Great North Swim, have many benefits. For me, the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and experience a deeper connection with the environment, has had a real and lasting effect on my psychological wellbeing.”

Campbell will also be answering questions on his eagerly anticipated book, But What Can I Do? Why Politics Has Gone So Wrong, and How You Can Help Fix It.

“We’re living through extraordinary times,” he said. “The increase in those experiencing poor mental health in recent years has correlated with momentous shift in the political climate. I think a lot of us have found ourselves in a bit of an existential crisis in response to the current state of our politics.

“But What Can I Do? is a question I’ve been asked by so many people who want to make a difference but aren’t sure where to start. I hope the book provides the motivation and the tools to allow people to effect change for the better.”

Campbell will be joining thousands of swimmers of all ages and abilities. They will be taking on a range of distances, from the beginners Swim250 all the way through to the open water ‘marathon’ 10K.

The Arla Great North Swim is a weekend-long celebration of open water swimming from June 9-11. Set against the iconic backdrop of the Lake District National Park, swimmers and their supporters can also enjoy the best of local food and drink and outdoor activities.

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