Swimmers tackle Channel Challenge

PUBLISHED: 17:10 08 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:26 31 May 2010

Ann, 64, and James Macdonald, 71.

Ann, 64, and James Macdonald, 71.

SWIMMERS have raised thousands of pounds for a spinal cord injury charity by taking on the channel challenge. Pensioners Ann and James Macdonald, from Ickleton, became the top team fundraisers collecting £1713.39 for completing the Aspire Channel Swim. Th

SWIMMERS have raised thousands of pounds for a spinal cord injury charity by taking on the channel challenge.

Pensioners Ann and James Macdonald, from Ickleton, became the top team fundraisers collecting £1713.39 for completing the Aspire Channel Swim.

The husband and wife team, who each swam the equivalent distance of the English Channel, were rewarded with a five day P&O crossing for their efforts.

Mrs Macdonald, 64, said: "We decided to do the swim for Aspire because we have a friend who suffered a spinal injury after falling out of a tree as a child; they have been in a wheelchair ever since.

"We normally swim about 40 lengths so we upped our training routine and started swimming about 50 or 60 lengths. We did about 44 miles altogether from September to December."

Eight-year-old Joshua Harliono-Evans, who attends St Thomas More Catholic Primary School in Saffron Walden, raised £654.48 for the charity - the youngest swimmer to raise so much.

Joshua completed the swim in less than two weeks and was presented with a one day P&O crossing over the real channel.

Joshua's mother, Maureen Harliono-Evans, said: "He has always loved the water and he started swimming when he was three and a half. I think it was quite hard work, but I'm really pleased he took part. He did a good thing for other people."

Joshua completed the daunting task over a number of sessions at the Lord Butler Leisure Centre swimming pool in Saffron Walden. To finish the 22-mile distance he had to swim 1408 lengths of the pool.

The eighth annual channel swim challenge reached its fundraising target of £350,000 thanks to the hard-work of the people who participated.

Aspire's Rosie Cotton said: "The Aspire Channel Swim is the biggest fundraising event in the charity's calendar as it raises a substantial amount of urgently needed funding for people with spinal cord injuries and helps us in our mission to enable them to lead more independent and fulfilled lives.

"At the same time it gives the public the opportunity to participate in a really good challenge and to take responsibility for their own health as they get fitter and trimmer with each lap they swim."

To take part in the ninth Aspire Channel Swim between September 15 and December 7 please contact Rosie Cotton on 08000 370 880 or log onto www.aspirechannelswim.co.uk

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