A pensioner has splashed the cash by taking on a charity challenge for a children’s cancer ward.
While cake and presents were on the list for Moira Halliday’s 75th birthday, she also decided to give her own gift to the Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH.)
Now Ward 4, the Children and Teenage Cancer Unit, has been presented with £750 to support its work.
Moira, who says she is not a strong swimmer and can only do breaststroke, had only swum 30 lengths of the 20m pool at Bannatyne’s Health Club in Chester-le-Street.
Yet her sponsored swim of 75 lengths equated to a distance of 1.5km.
Moira, from Houghton, swam for over two and a half hours, with two short 10 minute breaks.
I’m delighted we were able to get it to £750, which is an appropriate amount for a 75 year old swimming 75 lengths.Moira Halliday
She was supported by her friends Eileen Haswell and Sharon Kirk, who cheered her on from the poolside.
Moira said: “I wanted to mark my 75th birthday in some way and I decided if I could do a sponsored swim, I could ask my family and friends to sponsor me and they might ask their families and friends and I could perhaps raise some money for the Children and Teenage Cancer Unit at the GNCH.
“Many years ago, my best friend June died of cancer at the age of 18 having suffered four years of treatment.
“I was an only child and June was like a big sister to me so her death at such a young age had a terrible effect and the memory has stayed with me ever since.
“Sadly, very few people have not lost family members and friends to cancer or been touched by the disease in some way.
“June would have been 78 if she’d lived so I decided to swim 75 lengths, one length for each year I’ve been blessed with good health and try and benefit young cancer patients at the same time.
“With the knowledge and expertise we have in cancer services nowadays, at places like the Great North Children’s Hospital, June might well have survived her cancer had she been diagnosed today.”
Moira had set a target of £300, but hit the £750 mark thanks to loved ones, fellow members of St Barnabas Church, Bournmoor, and friends from the Light and Life Mission and Outreach in Darlington.
She added: “I’m delighted we were able to get it to £750, which is an appropriate amount for a 75 year old swimming 75 lengths.
“Amongst my other hobbies, I also enjoy baking but I’d have to sell an awful lot of ginger snaps to reach the same amount.”