Matthew Schofield, 13yrs, from Loscoe has been so inspired by his mum’s volunteering at Treetops Hospice Care that he’s swimming the length of the English Channel to raise money for the charity.

Matthew started tackling the 22 mile (35.4km) challenge in September, swimming three times a week after school at his local leisure centre. He has now swum over half the 1,416 lengths he must complete in order to ‘reach France’ in 12 weeks on Monday 5 December.

Matthew is very optimistic about the mammoth challenge:

“I’m over half way through and I can almost smell the croissants! I’m enjoying it a lot but I still can’t believe I am doing it! I really hope that more people will sponsor me.

“I’m doing the swim as a personal challenge, do a bit of good to the world and hopefully get a fundraising badge at Scouts.”

Treetops Hospice Care, based in Risley, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults and their families in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire including a Day Care unit which offers physical, emotional and social care.

Matthew’s mum, Natalie, has been a volunteer in Day Care since April and is incredibly proud of her son as she explains:

“When we were on holiday, Matthew picked up a leaflet about swimming the Channel for charity and asked if he could do it for Treetops. We talk about Treetops and my days here a lot – he can tell you exactly who we help and about the services. He said if he can raise money to help people make the most of their life, then that’s what he wants to do.

“When I first came for an interview here, I walked through the doors and it was not at all clinical or like a hospital. Everyone was smiling, there was lots of nice noise and laughter and I loved it. I couldn’t wait to get started and now I volunteer here each week.

“I’m really excited for Matthew and really proud of him. He only learnt to swim a couple of years ago and he doesn’t play any other sports so this is completely out of the blue – he decided to just go for it and he’s determined to make a difference.”

Matthew is recording his progress with a swim tag tracker to see exactly where he would be in the Channel.

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