Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland boys to finish mammoth charity swim challenge

Coleraine boys Oliver Dickey (left) and Ethan Pollock
Coleraine boys Oliver Dickey (left) and Ethan Pollock
Coleraine boys Oliver Dickey and Ethan Pollock in the pool

By David Reed

Two inspirational 10-year-olds will this week complete their quest to swim the equivalent of the English Channel for charity.

Oliver Dickey and Ethan Pollock, who are from Coleraine, embarked on their quest to swim 1,400 lengths - which equates to 21 miles - at Signature Swimming Club in May.

They aimed to raise £1,000 for NI Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust at Coleraine Grammar School under the guidance of their coach Sindy Stewart.

Oliver has cerebral palsy while Ethan has spina bifida.

On a recent fundraising ferry ride to Scotland, they walked the distance between Northern Ireland and Scotland using canes and a wheelchair. While there, they met Jim Burke from Ballyclare-based Hagan Homes, who offered to double the funds they raise.

The boys will complete their swimming challenge tomorrow.

Keeping them inspired to finish the final lengths are memories of their own experience with to Lapland with the Trust.

The charity takes children living with life-limiting conditions to Santa Park in Rovaniemi, Finland. It has planned its next trip for December 17 for over 100 children.

Swimming coach Sindy said: "Swimming 21 miles even in instalments, over six months, is a daunting prospect. But, when you are living with limited mobility from the waist down, the task becomes almost super-human.

"The boys had previously travelled with the charity on their annual trip to Lapland and wanted other children to have the same magical experience."

Ethan said: "I would like other children to experience what we have."

Oliver added: "I'm happy that we will be able to make other sick boys and girls and their families happy."

Colin Barkley, the chair of Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust, said the boys were a "true inspiration".

He added: "We are extremely grateful to Oliver and Ethan for the hard work they've put in on their own mission to allow children to experience the magic of the Lapland trip and when Hagan Homes came on board to double the funds they raised, it means their hard efforts will go towards fulfilling the dreams of even more children here."

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