Two inspirational 10 year-olds from Coleraine have almost completed their quest to swim the length of the English Channel for the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust. Oliver Dickey and Ethan Pollock, embarked on their admirable pursuit to swim 1400 lengths, which equates to 21 miles, at Signature Swimming Club in May.

They started out with the hope of raising £1000 for NI Children to Lapland at Coleraine Grammar School under the guidance of their coach Sindy Stewart but on a recent fundraising ferry ride to Scotland on which Oliver who lives with Cerebral Palsy and Ethan who has Spina Bifida, walked the distance between NI and Scotland using canes and a wheelchair, the boys met Jim Burke from Ballyclare-based Hagan Homes who offered to double the funds the pair raise.

The boys will complete their swimming challenge on Wednesday (November, 27 at 7pm) and keeping them inspired to finish the final lengths are memories of their own experience with Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust. The charity, which takes children living with life limiting conditions to Santa Park in Roveniemi, in Finland has planned its next trip for 17 December when over 100 children will be gifted with the experience.

Speaking about the boys’ venture, swimming coach Sindy Stewart 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 superhuman. 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 have will be able to make other sick boys and girls and their families happy!”

Speaking about Hagan Homes offer to double the funds, Oliver Dickey’s mum Charlene said: “There are no words to express our gratitude at such a gesture! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you! Jim Burke, you are an angel in disguise.”

She added: “The boys are both naturals in the water and it’s somewhere where they are the same as everyone else. You watch them in the pool, and you would have no idea that they have problems in their mobility.”

Jim Burke, Hagan Homes said: “The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust is an incredible organisation. It completed its eighth year of its Walk to Scotland fundraiser recently onboard Stena Line and when we saw that Oliver and Ethan were part of that as well as undertaking their very own challenge for the charity we were moved and honoured to offer our support.”

Colin Barkley, the Chair of Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust said:

“Our Charity fulfils dreams and creates memories to treasure forever. With input from people like Ethan and Oliver and the support of companies like Hagan Homes, we can plan to give even more children the gift of a Lapland visit. The simple fact is that the more money we raise, the more children we can help. We started with a 140-seater aircraft when we launched the charity ten years ago and in December will make the trip to Finland in a plane that can hold 220 passengers. We want to keep increasing that number.”

Mr Barkely continued: “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. We wish the boys all the very best with their last lengths of the trip and would encourage everyone to come out and support them on Wednesday evening. They are a true inspiration.”

To boost Oliver and Ethan’s efforts further and make a donation visit  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sindy-stewart?utm_term=eKg83ek4j

If you would like to join in the celebrations and support Oliver and Ethan as they complete their swimming challenge this Wednesday 27th November it will take place at 7pm at Coleraine Grammar School (22-33 Castlerock Road BT51 3LA).

For further information on NI Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust  visit niclt.org 

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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