Two inspirational Coleraine boys have just completed the incredible task of swimming 21 miles - the equivalent of swimming the length of the English Channel.
The 10 year-olds completed their quest to swim the length of the English Channel for the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust last night (Wednesday).
Oliver Dickey and Ethan Pollock embarked on their admirable pursuit to swim 1400 lengths at Signature Swimming Club in May - and their achievement is all the more remarkable as Oliver lives with Cerebral Palsy and Ethan has Spina Bifida.
They started out with the hope of raising £1,000 for NI Children to Lapland under the guidance of their coach Sindy Stewart but, on a recent fundraising ferry ride to Scotland on which Oliver and Ethan walked the distance between NI and Scotland using canes and a wheelchair, the boys met Jim Burke from Ballyclare-based Hagan Homes who offered to double the funds the pair raise.
Keeping the boys inspired to finish the final lengths were memories of their own experience with Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust.
The charity, which takes children living with life limiting conditions to Santa Park in Finland has planned its next trip for December 17 when over 100 children will be gifted with the experience.
Swimming coach Sindy Stewart said: “Swimming 21 miles even in instalments, over six months, is a daunting prospect. But, when you are living with limited mobility from the waist down, the task becomes almost superhuman. The boys had previously travelled with the charity on their annual trip to Lapland and wanted other children to have the same magical experience.”
Ethan said: “I would like other children to experience what we have.”
Oliver added: “I’m happy that we will be able to make other sick boys and girls and their families happy!” Speaking about Hagan Homes offer to double the funds, Oliver Dickey’s mum Charlene said: “There are no words to express our gratitude at such a gesture. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you! Jim Burke, you are an angel in disguise.”
She added: “The boys are both naturals in the water and it’s somewhere where they are the same as everyone else. You watch them in the pool, and you would have no idea that they have problems in their mobility.”
Jim Burke, Hagan Homes said: “The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust is an incredible organisation. It completed its eighth year of its Walk to Scotland fundraiser recently onboard Stena Line and when we saw that Oliver and Ethan were part of that as well as undertaking their very own challenge for the charity we were moved and honoured to offer our support.”
Colin Barkley, the Chair of Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust said: “We are extremely grateful to Oliver and Ethan for the hard work they’ve put in on their own mission to allow children to experience the magic of the Lapland trip and when Hagan Homes came on board to double the funds they raised it means their hard efforts will go towards fulfilling the dreams of even more children here. They are a true inspiration.”
To boost Oliver and Ethan’s efforts further please log on to ttps://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sindy-stewart?utm_term=eKg83ek4j