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A junior Swimathon at Stafford Leisure Centre (Saturday 29 June) has raised more than £1,600 to help disabled and terminally ill children in the county.

The event involved 33 children, aged six to eight (most of them from Years 1 to 3 at Berkswich Primary School). It was 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, was one of the swimmers – she raised £689 through her JustGiving page

Emma Hawley said: “Newlife helps provide essential equipment for so many disabled children, not only in Staffordshire but across the whole of the UK. All of the children who took part in the sponsored swim had a great time and parents reported back that the atmosphere was really positive and, importantly, lots of fun. The children just wanted to keep on swimming.”

Everyone who entered was presented with a certificate of achievement and a medal.

Pictured: some of the children who took part in the Stafford Swimathon, with their certificates and medals.

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