Swimmer goes to great lengths in memory of late grandad

Schoolgirl Emily Bain swam 21 miles - the equivalent of crossing the English Channel – in her family’s outdoor pool.

A young swimmer has gone to great lengths to complete a charity challenge in memory of her late grandfather.

Emily Bain, 12, swam 21 miles – the equivalent of crossing the English Channel from England to France – in her family’s outdoor pool.

The schoolgirl, from Prestonpans in East Lothian, is a member of Tranent Amateur Swimming Club and estimated that her speed was around 40 minutes per mile.

She then swam a mile every day for three weeks to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in tribute to her late grandfather George Shiells, who died of a heart attack at the age of 76 in June.

Emily said: “I wanted to do something for my papa and I love swimming so thought this would be a good way of doing it. 

“Our pool is a bit like a giant paddling pool so I couldn’t do lengths in it. 

“Instead we put a rope around my waist and tied it to the garden fence, so it was like I was swimming on the spot – or sometimes I swam in circles around the pool for forty minutes. 

“It was quite hard but I’m so glad I did it.”

Emily, who is a pupil at Preston Lodge High School, has now raised £2000 for the BHF’s life-saving research into heart and circulatory diseases.

Her mum, Gaynor, said: “We are so very, very proud of Emily. Not only because she wanted to do something in memory of her papa, but of the hard work and dedication that she has shown in completing what was a very difficult challenge. 

“She was really close to my father and this was her way of paying tribute to him. 

“We are delighted that she has raised so much for the British Heart Foundation and want to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored her. We are so grateful to them all.”

The BHF said Emily’s fundraising efforts have come at a time when it needs the public’s support more than ever. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the charity has faced in its 60-year history. 

The temporary closure of its 750 shops across the UK, including 76 in Scotland, and the cancellation of fundraising events have had a devastating impact on its income.

James Jopling, head of BHF Scotland, said: “We are so grateful to Emily for her fantastic efforts and for coming up with such a brilliant idea to help us. 

“Over the last few months, it has been truly inspiring to see our volunteers and fundraisers continuing to rise to the challenge, even at this extraordinary time, finding new ways to support us.

“The coronavirus crisis will unfortunately have a long-lasting and devastating impact on charities like ours, with our funding for new research falling by up to £50m this year alone. 

“That’s why, not only do we need urgent help from our wonderful supporters, we’re also urging the UK Government to ensure funding for vital research charities. 

“For us, it will mean we can protect the progress we have made so far and continue to transform the lives of those living with heart and circulatory diseases.”

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