Teen swimmer takes on epic distance challenge for charity

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A Loscoe teenager is swimming the length of the English Channel to raise money for a hospice charity, inspired by his mum’s volunteer work.

Ripley Academy student Matthew Schofield, 13, began his 22-mile journey in September, and is swimming three times a week at William Gregg VC leisure centre to try and reach the finish line on Monday, December 5.

Matthew said: “I’m doing the swim as a personal challenge, do a bit of good to the world and hopefully get a fundraising badge at Scouts.

“I’m about a third of the way through and I’m enjoying it a lot so far, but I still can’t believe I am doing this. I really hope that more people will sponsor me.”

He decided to undertake the challenge after talking to his mum Natalie about her experience as a day care volunteer with Treetops Hospice Care.

Natalie said: “We talk about Treetops and my days here a lot. He can tell you exactly who we help and about the services. He said if he can raise money to help people make the most of their life, then that’s what he wants to do.

“I’m really excited for Matthew and really proud of him. He only learnt to swim a couple of years ago and he doesn’t play any other sports so this is completely out of the blue.

“He decided to just go for it and he’s determined to make a difference.”

Based in Risley, Treetops provides nursing care and emotional support for adults and their families in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire including a day care unit which offers physical, emotional and social care.

Natalie said: “The first time I walked through the doors, everyone was smiling, there was lots of noise and laughter and I loved it. I couldn’t wait to get started and now I volunteer each week.”

Anyone interested in helping Matthew reach his £250 sponsorship target can donate via http://bit.ly/2e1fi5e.