Uckfield girl’s swim for kids with heart disease

Holly pictured by Ron Hill after her marathon swim
Holly pictured by Ron Hill after her marathon swim

A talented schoolgirl swam two miles (3,218 metres) in under two hours on Saturday to raise money for children with heart disease.

Holly Richardson, nine years old, who attends Rocks Park Primary School, Uckfield, swam the full two miles in 1 hour 40 minutes at the Horsted Health Club and Spa.

Her efforts have already raised almost £1,300 for the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London where her little brother Sam had surgery.

Before the day the furthest she had swum was 2,000 metres.

Mum, Frances, said: “When Holly decided she would like to raise some money for children with heart disease she didn’t think a cake sale would raise enough money.

“So she decided to do a sponsored swim and set herself a distance way further than she had swum before.”

The Horsted Health Club and Spa supported Holly’s efforts and let her use the pool free of charge to train in the weeks up to swim and on the day.

On the day Holly’s parents, grandparents and friends were there to cheer her on. She swam the first 70 lengths of the pool alone and then her brother and friends took it in turns to swim alongside her.

Frances said: “It was incredible. She was determined to do it and we were all so proud of her. We thought she would take at least two hours. She was absolutely amazing.”

The family had booked to eat at the Buxted Inn after the swim to celebrate. The staff there were so impressed they baked her a special chocolate cake with ‘Congratulations Holly’ on the top.

Frances said: “After the swim Holly ate lots of food and was buzzing all day. When she got home she wanted to bounce on the trampoline.”

To help promote her fundraising effort, Holly, who is very shy, overcame her nerves to speak to Uckfield FM. Frances said: “That in itself was a very big achievement.”

She also raised money with a JustGiving page and by asking her neighbours and friends. The proceeds will go to the Evelina Children’s Hospital which treats more than 50,000 children a year. Holly has asked that the money go to the cardiology department.

Donate at http://www.justgiving.com/Frances-Richardson1