A YOUNG Ely swimmer, inspired by his father s work for Mencap, has helped to raise more than £600 for charity. Emerson Baillie, nine, has spent the past month swimming lengths of Ely s Paradise Pool with his mum Deborah and they have covered a combined 1,
A YOUNG Ely swimmer, inspired by his father's work for Mencap, has helped to raise more than £600 for charity.
Emerson Baillie, nine, has spent the past month swimming lengths of Ely's Paradise Pool with his mum Deborah and they have covered a combined 1,408 lengths - equivalent to an English Channel swim.
Emerson, a St Mary's School student and a member of the Ely Barracudas Swimming Club, took on the 22-mile challenge after reading a charity leaflet.
His father, Robert, 35, said: "I work for Mencap in Cambridge and Emerson picked up a leaflet for Aspire, a charity that works with people with spinal cord injuries.
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"The leaflet included information on swimming a mile to raise money and, as a keen swimmer, Emerson really wanted to get involved. When he told me he wanted to swim a long distance, I tried to put him off but he was determined to do it."
Emerson, who has been swimming since the age of three, enlisted the help of mum Deborah, 33, a microbiologist with a pharmaceutical company, and the pair made weekly visits to the Paradise Pool.
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Robert said: "They would set distance targets each week and would go to the pool regularly to make sure they hit their target.
"It is a terrific achievement for both of them but, as it turned out, Emerson could have completed the distance on his own if he had carried on."
Sports-mad Emerson, who has two brothers - Ethan, six, and Eldon, two, also enjoys trampolining and gymnastics.
Robert said: "It shows that children of his age can achieve great things and that good sporting facilities are out there to be used.
"I am so very proud of Emerson and what he has achieved. He is my star."
The Baillie family are continuing to raise funds for Aspire until December 3. Anyone wishing to make a donation can contact Robert Baillie on 01353 662511.