Loch Lomond charity swim

Ben Harrison
Ben Harrison

TALENTED swimmer Ben Harrison decided he wanted to raise money for a town charity – so took on a gruelling challenge to swim on the largest lake in Britain.

The 11-year-old spends around six and a half hours every week in the swimming pool but had to adapt to life in a lake quickly as he stepped foot in Loch Lomond, in Scotland.

Nearly two miles later, Ben was celebrating after completing the mammoth effort in just 45 minutes and making £1,000 for Hartlepool & District Hospice in the process.

Ben, a member of Hartlepool Swimming Club, completed the 1.7 mile challenge on his own but was cheered on by his supportive parents, Alan, 41, a fire service instructor, and Lorna, 39, a PA at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

“I was thinking about doing something for the hospice and my dad’s friend mentioned a swim on Loch Lomond,” said Ben, a pupil at St Hild’s C of E School, in King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool.

“I was really looking forward to it beforehand, it was something completely different to what I have ever done before.

“The main difference was the fact I couldn’t see the bottom which was quite scary at first.

“I was tired by the end, but not as tired as I thought I was going to be.”

Ben, who lives in the Clavering area of Hartlepool, was ecstatic to raise as much as he did for the Wells Avenue-based hospice.

“It’s a community charity so I decided I wanted to do something to help them,” he added.

Ben’s parents said they were extremely proud of his “fantastic effort.”

Lorna said: “We were both quite nervous for Ben beforehand, but he was excellent.

“It’s a great achievement, we are really, really proud.

“To raise £1,000 is absolutely fantastic.”

Greg Hildreth, events and community facilitator for the Hartlepool & District Hospice, said: “Congratulations to Ben on a hugely successful fundraising event and for swimming such a distance.

“It’s always fantastic to hear of people using their hobbies and interests to support our charity.

“I’d like to pass on thanks and best wishes on behalf of all at the hospice to Ben and his supporters.

“We rely heavily on this kind of support to maintain our patient care services, which is where all of the sponsorship money will now be spent.

“Ben is a shining example to other young people in the community – well done.”

l Mail view: Page 8