Edited

Elizabeth, a J2 pupil at St Olave’s School, York, has raised an incredible £2,681.80 for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund after embarking on a sponsored swim with her classmates.

Elizabeth, aged 9, was inspired to raise money for the charity after spending many weeks on ward 51, the Children’s Heart Ward at Leeds General Infirmary, as an inpatient in 2017 and 2018. When she returned to school in 2018, Elizabeth raised money for portable DVD units for the ward with a cake sale. In 2019 she shared her idea of a sponsored swim with Mr Nathan Savage, Head of Sport at St Olave’s, who helped to co-ordinate the fundraising initiative.

Every child in Elizabeth’s year group joined in the sponsored swim in the pool at St Peter’s School on 3rd December, aiming to swim as many lengths as they could in 1 ½ hours. The original goal was to swim the length of the English Channel but the children surpassed their target and swam a total of 3,588 lengths (56 miles).

Elizabeth said: ‘I really enjoyed the sponsored swim and I would really like to thank all the children in J2 and the games and swimming staff, particularly Mrs Jones, Mr Savage, Mrs Brough, Mr Leake, and Mr Maycock’

Nathan Savage said: ‘This sponsored swim is an excellent example of what can be achieved through teamwork and friendship. I would like to congratulate Elizabeth on her fundraising efforts and say a huge thank you to all the pupils in J2 who took part in the sponsored swim.’

During school assembly on Friday 31st January Elizabeth presented the cheque along with the members of staff who helped organise this event to the Leeds Children Heart surgery Fund.

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund supports the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary, including ward 51, by providing the funding and resources needed to care for a patient’s heart, mind, family and future. The money raised will be used to buy new equipment for the ward including a library stocked with books to distract the children, maintain a fish tank which is a main attraction on ward 51 and also purchase equipment to facilitate venous access in children.

Lisa Williams, Senior Community Fundraising Manager for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, said: ‘We are very grateful to Elizabeth and everyone at St Peter’s and St Olave’s who organised and took part in this fantastic sponsored swim. The amount raised will make a big difference to the treatment of young heart patients at Leeds General Infirmary.

‘Elizabeth’s idea was so good that we are promoting a similar charity event this year at Children’s Heart Surgery Fund called “The Big Swim”, and supporters around the region are already taking part.’