Pensioner’s outdoor swim challenge in baby’s memory

A PENSIONER is set to swim half a mile in each of 14 lakes in the Lake District to raise money for Sheffield Hospitals Charity, in memory of a baby who was born at 26 weeks’ gestation and died just 12 hours later.

Alan Spier from Ecclesall, Sheffield, will be undertaking the outdoor swimming challenge in memory of his partner’s grandson, George Gordon.

The money raised will be donated to Sheffield Hospitals Charity and used to support other families in the neonatal intensive care unit in the Jessop Wing, which cared for George when he was born prematurely.

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The unit looks after around 800 babies from Sheffield and across the UK each year.

Mr Spier decided to sign up for his latest challenge after undertaking a previous charity swim in Windermere, where he completed a one-mile course in 45 minutes and came first in his age group.

Thr 70-year-old said: “I felt so relieved when I saw the signs to say I only had 200 metres left to go.

“By that point I had probably done more than a mile as I’d gone a little of course and had to be steered back into line by one of the event organisers.

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“When I reached the finish line I knew it had all been worth it.

“The atmosphere was great and everyone was so friendly and supportive.

“The swim gave me the incentive to push myself even more and also because I know how well the staff at the hospital looked after George and his parents.

“I want to raise more money to help other families who find themselves in such a stressful position.”

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Mr Spier’s motivation for his next challenge was inspired by a conversation with his dentist, about the joys of outdoor swimming and how great it would be to swim in all of the lakes in the Lake District.

After giving it some thought, he decided he would raise further funds for Sheffield Hospitals Charity by swimming half a mile in 14 lakes in the Lake District.

During the three-day challenge next month, Mr Spier will be joined by three other men - including his dentist.

Mr Spier is aiming to raise a total of £4,000 from his swims. To donate online, visit