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A junior Swimathon at Stafford Leisure Centre on Saturday 29 June is set to raise hundreds of pounds to help disabled and terminally ill children in the county.

The event – which will involve 33 children, aged six to eight (most of them from Berkswich Primary School) – has been organised by swimming instructor Emma Hawley as a ‘thank you’ to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. The Cannock-based charity is funding a £5,643 specialist bed for Emma’s daughter Jessica, aged two.

Jessica has an undiagnosed genetic condition with cerebral atrophy causing Global Developmental Delay. She has no awareness of danger and needs close supervision at all times – hence the need for a specialist bed. Jessica has been sleeping in a standard cot but she is at risk of falling over the sides and trapping her limbs in the side rails. She is fed overnight by a gastrostomy tube into her stomach and the new bed will help with appropriate positioning for this. Its adjustable height feature will also help the family care for Jessica as she gets older.

Jessica’s sister Natalie, aged six, is one of the swimmers – and she has already raised more than £500 of sponsorship through her JustGiving page

Emma Hawley said: “All of the children will be aiming to swim as far as they can – and have some fun doing that. We are hoping to raise £1,000 for Newlife, which helps provide essential equipment for so many disabled children, not only in Staffordshire but across the whole of the UK.”

Pictured:Natalie Hawley (right) who is fundraising to say thank you to Newlife on behalf of sister Jessica (left).

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