Harrogate restaurateur in bid to raise charity funds

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A previous winner of the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards is on a sink or swim bid to raise £5,000 for the charity behind it.

Harrogate restaurateur Tom van Zeller, who won the Achievement in Management and Enterprise Award in 2011, is taking part in the Great North Swim on Sunday June 15 when he will swim a mile in the often-challenging waters of Lake Windermere.

He is aiming to raise £5,000 for the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation which supports young people and projects benefiting them across the region.

“The Foundation does a lot for young people who might be struggling with all sorts of things,” said Mr van Zeller.

“I wanted to raise money for a cause where I would be able to see the outcome and find out how the funds had been spent.”

The restaurateur was inspired to take part in the Great North Swim by friends who had done it before but is not taking the challenge lightly.

He has never swum in open water before, or when wearing a wet suit, and knows that Windermere can pose some tough questions, including waves and currents.

He is now training in the pool four times a week, visiting the gym to work on his strength and will be taking part in some open water training at the beginning of June.

He added: “I know it is going to be difficult but I like having a challenge and this seemed like a great way to achieve a physical aim and raise funds.”

The Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards were founded in 1993 to celebrate the achievement of Yorkshire’s young people, along with raising money for Yorkshire’s children’s charities.

Due to the success of the Awards, the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation was founded in 2010 to further support charitable projects for young people in the Yorkshire region.

Tom won the Achievement in Management and Enterprise Award, sponsored by Harrogate-based law firm McCormicks Solicitors, just a year after setting up his own restaurant, Van Zeller, in Harrogate with the backing of restaurateur David Moore, owner of two Michelin starred Pied à Terre.

He raised investment and re-fitted the premises himself. Working on a shoestring budget, he succeeded in creating a contemporary fine dining restaurant which has made a name for itself nationally, winning numerous awards.

Mr van Zeller’s JustGiving page with more details of his swim can be found at www.justgiving.com/TvZ-Sink-or-Swim