VIDEO: Seven-year-old ‘inspired’ to swim for cancer charity

A Pulborough schoolgirl swam more than 50 lengths for Marie Curie Cancer Care after feeling inspired by last year’s Olympics.

A fan of Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, Matilda North decided to set her own Olympic worthy challenge at just seven years old and swim 60 lengths at Billingshurst Leisure Centre.

JPCT 030413  13190119x Coldwaltham, St James C of E School. Proud Mum with daughter Matilda charity fund raiser with sponsored Swimathon in Billingshurst -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 030413 13190119x Coldwaltham, St James C of E School. Proud Mum with daughter Matilda charity fund raiser with sponsored Swimathon in Billingshurst -photo by Steve Cobb

Trained by swimming teacher Simon Grinyer for four months, Matilda had achieved a maximum of 32 lengths in practise, but on the big day on April 28 she accomplished an impressive 52.

The St James C of E Primary School pupil said: “I like swimming and I liked watching Ellie Simmonds on TV.

“It was a bit hard to do it, but I’m really happy.

“It took me 46 minutes and 3 seconds exactly.”

Taking place in a 25 meter swimming pool, Matilda was supported by friends and family on the day and raised more than £300 for charity.

Matilda’s mum Sian North supported her all the way. The 38-year-old said: “I’m very proud of her. Matilda’s been swimming for a long time with Simon and she wanted to challenge herself with something. It was a big bonus that we raised the money for Marie Curie. The swimming is more of a hobby, but she watched the Olympics and felt inspired to do it.”

Mr Grinyer swam the final eight laps to help Matilda reach the 60 mark.

He said: “It’s extraordinary what Matilda achieved.”