Sheffield pensioner makes a splash

Alan Spier, of Ecclesall, displays his medal after completing the one mile, Great North Swim.
Alan Spier, of Ecclesall, displays his medal after completing the one mile, Great North Swim.
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At the age of 70 he is hardly a water baby – and it has been 20 years since Alan Spier did his last sponsored swim.

But that will not stop the Sheffield pensioner from taking the plunge across the Lake District to swim seven miles for charity.

Alan, from Ecclesall, who still manages to swim 1,000 metres almost every day, is raising funds in memory of his partner’s grandson George Gordon, who was born 14 weeks prematurely and died just 12 hours later.

Money raised will be donated to Sheffield Hospitals Charity and used to support other families in the neo-natal intensive care unit in the Jessop Wing hospital, where George was cared for.

The unit is one of the largest in the country and looks after about 800 premature and sick babies from Sheffield and across the UK each year.

The first of Alan’s swimming challenges took him to Windermere in Cumbria, where he completed the Great North Swim, completing the one-mile course in 45 minutes, coming first in his age group.

Alan said: “I felt so relieved when I saw the signs to say I only had 200 metres left to go.

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

“When I reached the finish 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.”

The total seven-mile distance will be covered over three days as Alan swims half a mile in each of the Lake District’s 14 lakes, finishing in Buttermere Lake – and then a trip to the pub.

He hopes to raise £4,000 from his swimming expeditions.

n To support Alan, visit www.justgiving.com/AlanSwims