Clitheroe grandma Rosemary Lancaster will attempt her first open water one mile swim this weekend to raise funds for two African charities – Open Arms International and The Soloman Project.
Rosemary, who is finding preparing for the challenge an amazing experience, said: “You are never too old for a new challenge.”
In preparation for the Great North Swim, Rosemary swam in Lake windermere in May when the water temperature was just eight degrees Celsius. She was pleased on a training day given by Elite swimmers last Saturday that the lake temperature had risen to 15C.
Rosemary’s inspiration to take on such a challenge is the work of two African charities, one of which she helped to set up.
Well-known Clitheroe philanthropists, in 2000, Rosemary travelled with her husband – Ultraframe founder John Lancaster – to Africa to see themselves the amazing work of Mission Aviation Fellowship.
“I was full of anticipation and excitement at the prospect of fulfilling a lifelong dream,” she explains. “However, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see. Abandoned and orphaned children living in squalor, enduring abuse as they fought to survive on the streets and rubbish dumps.
“Sniffing glue to help ease the terrible feelings of hunger and hopelessness – the devastating effects of the HIV AIDS pandemic and extreme poverty.
“The look of lost hope in the children’s eyes tore at my very soul. That memory has remained and is the reason behind my personal challenge, to raise awareness of those that have no voice.”
Rosemary also wanted to express her ongoing commitment to the African charities Open Arms International and The Soloman Project, the latter of which she is a co-founder.
“Both these projects are based in Eldoret in Kenya and are addressing needs of those disadvantaged by poverty and circumstance,” Rosemary explains.
The Solomon Project, is working in partnership with Mary’s Meals. Providing meals for chronically hungry children in their place of education. It costs just £17 to feed a child for a whole school year.
To support Rosemary in her challenge and make a donation to either of the charities visit www.justgiving.com/Rosemary-Lancaster and www.justgiving.com/Rosemary-Lancaster1
Rosemary receives personal encouragement for her swimming challenge from Cassie Patten, British Olympic medallist at the Beijing Olympics.