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Marathon swim gives charities a fundraising boost

Two charities have benefitted from a Blackburn man’s mammoth swim in Lake Windermere.

The Stroke Association and Blackburn Rovers Community Trust (BRCT) both received more than £3,000 after Oli McCann plunged into the waters of England’s biggest lake and swam 10km.

BRCT will use the money specifically to help Apple Trees in Blackburn, an organisation the Community Trust works with closely with, to deliver targeted multi-sports activities for children with disabilities.

The Stroke Association will use the money to further research and support those who have suffered a stroke.

Oli, who was supported by colleagues at Napthens Solicitors during the swim, said: “It’s fantastic to hand over the money to these brilliant charities, knowing just what a difference it will make.

“The Community Trust and Apple Trees are fantastic assets to the region, and the activities they both provide together, enable children to be feel included while also giving parents respite.

“My father-in-law died of a stroke in 2013, and more recently, a very good friend of mine, Steve Smith, had a stroke at the age of 50, which is what made it the second charity I wanted to support with this swim.

“He is a very popular member of our community and it shocked everyone, and even though Steve was lucky to survive, he has had to overcome some serious challenges and he continues to do so.

“The swim itself was pretty tough but I got plenty of support from family, friends and Napthens colleagues.

“But what really spurred me on was knowing how the money raised would give children with disabilities and those who have suffered a stroke, vital support in their lives.”

Oli’s swim is part of an ongoing program of fundraising organised and supported by the Napthens Charity Foundation.

Vikki Pattinson, from the Stroke Association, said: “We’re always grateful to people like Oli who put themselves out to support others.

“The money he’s raised will help us continue pioneering research to save lives and help stroke survivors to make the best possible recovery and adjust to life after stroke.

“It will also deliver specialist support services and a helpline to ensure stroke survivors and their loved ones get the support they need.”

Gary Robinson, CEO of the official charity of Blackburn Rovers Football Club, said: “First of all, we would like to thank Oli for his outstanding effort by completing a marathon swim in Lake Windermere.

“Oli’s fundraising will help support the important work we do within our local community and has helped with our delivery in Apple Trees, Blackburn, a centre which provides short breaks for children up to the age of 18 with disabilities.

“It will help us continue to support the fantastic work that Apples Trees and their staff do on a daily basis.

“Our qualified coaches deliver engaging multi-sports sessions focused on the specific needs of the children.

“In addition, our Men in Sheds participants also visit Apples Trees and they help tender to the gardens in order for the children to enjoy the great facilities Apple Trees have at their disposal.

“We are thankful Oli has shown his support for Blackburn Rovers Community Trust.”