THE death of a fun-loving five-year-old boy has spurred on a group of women to raise money for research into childhood brain cancer.
Rebecca Hoskins, Jane Hardy, Sarah Moor, Sam Swain and Caroline Findley will be swimming six-and-a-half kilometres from the Isle of Eigg to the Isle of Muck, off the west coast of Scotland, in memory of Shilbottle’s Matthew Phillips who died after a four-year battle with a brain tumour on February 1.
At his funeral donations were made to the Joseph Foote Foundation to fund research into the specific tumour Matthew had – an ependymoma – and the women have chosen to boost this fund with their event.
The idea came about after a friend contacted Jane through Facebook.
He goes diving off Eigg each year and offered to be the group’s cover boat.
Jane said: “David said that it would be a challenge to swim the distance and asked if we had considered doing it for charity.
“Literally half an hour after putting down the phone to David I got another call to say that Matthew had lost his life and I thought that is what we need to do it for.
“We’re all really looking forward to it.”
The swim will be on Sunday, July 31, or Monday, August 1.
At the weekend, the group carried out a practice swim between the Farne Islands and Seahouses, with the help of the lifeboat station.
“The lifeboats have been fantastic,” said Jane.
“The harbour master at Seahouses has been really forthcoming with information.
“The real swim is a huge challenge compared to what we’ve been used to. We do open water swimming each Thursday at Sugar Sands.
“But in the actual challenge we will be right out at sea and it will be about 90 metres deep at the deepest point.
“It is something different to anything we have ever done before.
“I’ve never done anything quite as insane in my life. We could come across dolphins, minke whales, anything.”
Speaking after the practice, Rebecca said: “At Sugar Sands we swim in a sheltered bay and swimming in the open sea is very different so this was an invaluable practice swim.”
The women also want to raise awareness about the lack of funding which goes into children’s brain cancer research, which is why the Joseph Foote Foundation was chosen.
Anyone wanting to sponsor the group or for more information should visit www.justgiving.com/swim-for-matthew