Cerebral palsy sufferer to do Great North Swim

Taking the plunge: Former Crowland resident Margaret Barker will be joining mother and son William and Sue Holland-Leavens, of Donington, at the Great North Swim.
Taking the plunge: Former Crowland resident Margaret Barker will be joining mother and son William and Sue Holland-Leavens, of Donington, at the Great North Swim.
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A MOTHER and son from Donington are preparing to brave the cold waters of Lake Windermere to raise money for charity.

Sue and William Holland-Leavens will be among 10,000 people taking part in the Great North Swim over the weekend.

The duo, who live in Church Street, will be raising money for Cerebral Palsy Sport – a charity close to their hearts.

William (20) has hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy which affects the left side of his body, and in the past he has swum competitively with the charity in the UK and abroad.

He said: “Getting involved with CP Sport was really good because you get to train with other swimmers with cerebral palsy and the support is amazing.

“It’s also helping more with life skills than the physical side of things. Sport helps me loosen up and when anyone does sport you feel a huge amount of achievement.

“There’s a really nice atmosphere.”

William completed the event in 2009 and raised about £350 but last year the event was cancelled due to blue/green algae in the water.

This year he hopes to complete the one-mile swim in about 30 minutes, while Sue is aiming for under two hours. They hope to collect as much money as they can while doing it.

They have been practicing their open water swimming in the Lake District.

William, who is studying product design at the University of Salford, added: “The charity relies on volunteers and donations and that’s why I am helping. It has helped me so much and I think to give something back and help other people – children and adults – and keep them going is great.”

Sue (51) decided to join William in the water after being encouraged by her friend Margaret Barker, a former Crowland resident who will also be doing the swim on Sunday.

Sue said: “She challenged me to do it so I went to my GP to check I was okay to do it and she thought it was a brilliant idea.

“I started going to the gym and then I started swimming. Everyone has been very supportive.”

To pledge a donation towards the swim, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/sueholland-leavens or call CP Sport on 0115 9252620.