Sink or swim for Yorkshire young achiever

20 May 2014

A previous winner of the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards, sponsored by Harrogate-based law firm McCormicks Solicitors, is on a sink or swim bid to raise £5,000 for the charity behind the Awards.

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 15 June 2104 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.

Tom said: The Foundation does a lot for young people who might be struggling with all sorts of things and 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.

He 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.

Tom 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.

Tom won the Achievement in Management and Enterprise Award 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.

Tom’s JustGiving page with more details of his swim can be found at

Main photograph:  Tom van Zeller (right) receives the 2011 Achievement in Management and Enterprise Award at the Yorkshire Young Achievers Awards from Peter Gilman of sponsors the GMI Group. Tom is now raising money for the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation.

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