A PENSIONER has set himself the challenge of swimming the equivalent of the English Channel for a cause close to his heart.
While most of us will take it easy this Christmas – 82-year-old Robert Powney will be pounding up and down a swimming pool as he attempts a virtual ‘Channel Swim’ for charity.
The pensioner, from Windermere, is determined to complete the gruelling challenge despite injuring his knee shortly after beginning the attempt.
He is currently totting up 900 metres a day towards the 36km target despite having to use crutches to get into the pool after the injury.
The challenge is all to raise funds and awareness of the vital role played by young, unpaid carers in looking after their loved ones.
Mr Powney, who is a carer himself and looks after his wife Gwen, was inspired to take on the challenge after seeing the support work done by the charity Carer Support South Lakes.
“We were in Dorset and I heard a child in a group say they were on the best holiday they had ever been on,” he said.
“It transpired that they were young carers who were on a respite holiday to give them a break from their caring roles.
“I decided then that I wanted to do something for charity to help young carers.
“It broke my heart to see children as young as five were caring for their families.
“I hope the funds I raise will give young carers the chance to be children again or to spend some quality time with their loved ones without having to act as carers.”
Mr Powney injured his knee while out walking soon after beginning his swimming challenge.
“It’s getting better but I still have to use a crutch to get in and out of the pool,” he said.
“But I’m determined to complete the virtual Channel Swim because the funds it will raise for Carer Support South Lakes will be vital in making sure they can continue to help unpaid Carers.”
The Channel Swim challenge is taking place at the Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa on Windermere.
Mr Powney said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Low Wood for allowing me to stage this challenge here and for all the help and support they have given.
Marian Graveson from Carer Support South Lakes added: “The effort Robert is making on behalf of young Carers is simply amazing.
“Without this sort of fundraising we would not be able to support all the unpaid Carers across South Lakeland who need our help.”
Mr Powney has launched a fundraising page, with the hope of raising a total of £500. He hopes to complete the challenge by early in the New Year.
If you would like to make a donation towards Robert’s total you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/virtual-swim