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Melksham woman’s swimming feat boosts funds for charity

A LOCAL woman, who is a wheelchair user and can only walk short distances with two walking sticks, swam 10km throughout August, raising £615 for a local children’s charity.

Next, she plans to up her swimming distance to 20 kilometres, then 30 kilometres to raise funds for other local charities.

Carly Lennard-Walker took on the 10k swimming challenge for Helen & Douglas House, a children’s charity supporting terminally ill children and their families.

“I am so proud of myself for completing this challenge and so overwhelmed with the amount of people that have supported me in every way, not only by donating but by coming to my last swim with me as well,” says Carly.

“I think my biggest highlight was my last swim, not because it was the last one but because I had my dad and a teacher from my children’s school join me in the pool and my family came to watch me as well. Also, when I finished my last length, the pool erupted with clapping, even people that were swimming stopped and joined in which was really overwhelming for me.

“I only really had two challenges whilst doing this. One was making sure I had someone to look after my children and the other one was the two evening swims that I did as my pain is at its worst at night but I still managed to do them.”

Carly explained that she has abnormally deep hip sockets and dysplasia in both her hips and two partially slipped discs in the bottom of her back so was delighted to be able to swim the 10km, the equivalent of 400 lengths of Melksham pool.

“Mentally I feel better now that I have actually achieved something that even some able-bodied people can’t do but pain-wise I think it is starting to get worse” says Carly, “I shall still be swimming though as I really enjoy it and if I can help charities along the way then even better.

“I am next going to be doing a 20K swim over November for the Emma Rodger Foundation and after that I will be doing a 30K swim over March for Julia’s House Dorset & Wiltshire children’s hospices. I just hope that I can raise as much for them as I just have.

“When I first started to go swimming with my condition it was quite daunting as I didn’t know if I could do it on my own so I always had someone with me. As I kept going, I realised that I could manage it on my own as the staff and lifeguards are so friendly and helpful and are always there if or when you need them. Whether you are able-bodied or have a disability in some way, if there is a challenge you see that you feel you want to give a go then go for it because you’ll never know unless you try.

“Start small and work your way up, no one will judge you for it and it is such an amazing feeling once you’ve completed it, you really do feel like you are on cloud nine.

“If there is anyone out there that wants to swim but doesn’t want to go on their own then please feel free to find me on Facebook and drop me a message, I am always happy for people to join me.”

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