Thursday, 19 March 2015

Schoolgirl Grace makes a big splash for charity

Grace Wilding

Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School student, 13 year-old Grace Wilding recently undertook the Aspire Swim Challenge in order to raise money for people with spinal cord injuries.

The challenge consisted of swimming the length of the English Channel (22 miles in total), over the course of twelve weeks from September to December 2014.

Not only did Grace complete the mammoth task, she managed to raise an impressive £620 for the charity, ranking her in the top 50 Aspire Swim Challenge fundraisers nationally.

Grace, who lives in Bare, is an avid swimmer having swam regularly at Lancaster City Council’s Salt Ayre Sports Centre 33 metre swimming pool for the past five years. Now nearing the end of her final stage of swimming merits, Grace was keen for a new challenge in the pool.

“My mum does a lot of charity work” Grace commented, “and after seeing the Aspire Swim Challenge advertised around the sports centre, we thought it would be a good opportunity for me to get involved.

“It’s the longest distance I’ve ever swum. I used time during my swimming lessons to complete my quota of lengths for each week, as well as cramming in as much as I could around my school work and other commitments.

“I initially set a fundraising target of £220 which worked out at £10 per every mile I swam, but with a lot of support from my friends, family, Dad's work colleagues and through Mum's Facebook fundraising page, The Cat's Whiskers, we quickly exceeded that figure.  My school were really supportive too and even hosted a cake sale which raised £70. I didn’t think we’d be able to raise more than £500 and so to achieve that was brilliant; I really appreciated everyone who sponsored me.”

Aside from swimming, Grace is a keen footballer, is working towards her Jiu Jitsu black belt and hopes to undertake the Duke of Edinburgh award at school next year.

Aspire is a dedicated charity set up to help individuals with spinal cord injuries; at present Aspire supports over 40,000 people in the UK through providing accessible housing, assisting with independent living, securing grants and much more. For more information on Aspire visit

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