Swim England

A nation swimming

Swim England chairperson Mike Farrar working for NHS during COVID-19 crisis

Swim England chairperson Mike Farrar has temporarily stood down from the role – to return to work for the NHS on a pro-bono basis during the coronavirus crisis.

Mike, who has been Swim England chairperson since 2016, has taken on the post of Deputy CEO at King’s College Hospital, London – one of the hospitals to have had the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the country.

He said: “Having worked in the NHS for a number of years, I felt I could offer some experience to try and help them through the crisis.

“It’s great that I can make a contribution but the real stars are the doctors, nurses and care workers.

“I really hope that when we move to a position that it’s safe for people to move out of lockdown and get back to some sort of normality, I can pick up the reins again at Swim England.

“I’m very grateful to the board for giving me the opportunity to stand down at this time.”

Mike is a former chief executive of the NHS Confederation and has also held roles as chief executive of West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authorities, chief executive of Tees Valley Health Authority and head of primary care at the Department of Health.

During this time, Sue Smith, Swim England senior independent director, will deputise for Mike.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson hailed MIke’s decision and praised all NHS staff for the vital work they are carrying out in challenging times.

Proud of key workers

She said: “We are proud of the many Swim England members up and down the country who are key workers, doing fantastic work at this difficult time to care for our loved ones, provide vital services and help keep us all safe.

“We’ve benefitted hugely from Mike’s experience and knowledge of the healthcare system and knowing Mike as I do it is absolutely no surprise to me at all to see him returning to the frontline in a busy London hospital to help save lives during these challenging times.

“Everyone at Swim England is immensely proud of Mike and all the NHS staff”.

Meanwhile, Jane has expressed her condolences to the families of Swim England members who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.

She urged people to adhere to the Government guidance to help curb the spread of the virus.

“It’s desperately saddening to hear of people associated with our Swim England family who are suffering from COVID-19,” said Jane.

“While some have thankfully recovered, others have lost their battle and we send our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the friends and families of those who have lost their life.

“It’s vitally important, at this time, that everyone follows the advice from the Government.

“We simply can’t thank our NHS workers enough but we can do our bit to help them so please, stay at home and save lives.”

  • Swim England is paying tribute to its members who are key workers during the coronavirus outbreak by featuring them on its social media channels. If you are a key worker we can say thank you to, email a photo to communications@swimming.org with your name, where you work and the aquatics club you’re associated with.