Welwyn Garden City girl swims great lengths in honour of headteacher

PUBLISHED: 15:47 15 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:47 15 February 2017

Abbie in her tshirt.

Abbie in her tshirt.

Archant

A Welwyn Garden City youngster is swimming 1.5k to raise money in honour of the 'best headteacher in the world' whose dad has cancer.

Swallow Dell Primary School pupil Abbie, nine, of Carve Ley, will be swimming on April 8, to raise money for charity Marie Curie.

The charity provides care and support for people living with any terminal illness and their families.

Headteacher Clare Hollingsworth said: “Me and Abbie were having a conversation in my office, as she often pops in to tell me about her swimming, which we as a school are so proud of, and the conversation led to talking about people who were ill with cancer.

“She asked me if any of my family had or have cancer, and I told her that my granddad had passed away from having prostate cancer and that my dad currently has skin cancer.

“In our school cancer is not a scary word. So many children from Swallow Dell, parents and their family members have had cancer so we try and be open about it with the children.”

After the conversation, Abbie decided that she would like to raise money to help Clare’s family by swimming in the Swimathon 2017, which is run by Marie Curie and The Swimathon Foundation.

Clare donated £50 soon after Abbie created her JustGiving page, along with 28 other donors who have so far given £382 between them.

Abbie said: “I found out about my headteacher’s dad when I was planning to do the challenge so I asked her if I could swim for her family.

“She is the best headteacher in the world.

“I’m so excited for the swimathon. I feel privileged to be able to swim and raise money for such a good cause.”

Abbie started swimming when she was five and joined Hertford Swimming Club when she was seven.

She currently swims in galas and open meets and trains four times a week with the club, but is going twice a week more with her mum to practise the distance for the swimathon.

Clare said: “It makes me quite emotional that Abbie is doing this. This is one of the children that I care for as an authority figure and she has taken our conversation onboard and has decided to do something to help.”

Abbie’s mum Mel Hackworth, 37, said: “I’m really proud of her, she works very hard. She is so committed to it and wanted to raise money while doing something she loves.

“She is doing so well with her training and is currently doing up to 50 lengths.”

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swimathon-2017-Abbie

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