Swimming in support of Emma

Andrew Gardner in his open water swimming challenge.
Andrew Gardner in his open water swimming challenge.
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A BRAVE dad swam for more than one mile in freezing waters to raise money and awareness of a condition which affects his young daughter.

Andrew Gardner was one of 60 swimmers who took part in an open water challenge across Lake Grasmere Channel, in the Lake District.

The 45-year-old funeral director admitted the challenge was even tougher than he imagined. But the day was a huge success as Andrew raised £450 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, with even more money expected in the coming weeks.

Andrew’s five year old daughter, Emma, suffers with Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening condition which affects the internal organs by clogging them with thick sticky mucus.

Although life expectancy is just 39 years, medics are closing in on groundbreaking treatment which aims to correct the faulty gene which causes Cystic Fibrosis.

And the Cystic Fibrosis Trust received a welcome £16,000 boost with all of the money raised by the 60 swimmers in last weekend’s challenge.

“It was a brilliant day,” said Andrew, who lives in Fernwood Avenue, Hartlepool, with wife Ellen, 41, and the couple’s other daughter, Laura, 12.

“It was a lot tougher than I expected and at one point I was swimming but not actually moving because of the current. But there was no way I wasn’t going to complete it.”

Andrew, who completed the challenge in 38 minutes and 13 seconds, added: “Overcoming a challenge like this is the least I could do to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the work they do is absolutely outstanding.”

Emma, a pupil at St Aidan’s CE Memorial Primary School, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was just six weeks old.

She was the first baby in Hartlepool to be diagnosed after undergoing a newborn baby test and the early diagnosis meant Emma could start treatment straight away.

“Last year’s event raised about £10,000 which was brilliant so it was a fantastic effort by all to top that.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Gardner5.