Seven-year-old off to Turkey to meet refugees he raised money forBy Sally Bryant
October 29, 2012
A seven-year-old with staying power who has swum the equivalent of a Channel crossing has flown out to Turkey to meet the Syrian refugees who inspired his effort.
Joseph Purcell swam the final five laps of his 21-mile haul on Sunday, October 21, at the Royal Berkshire Health & Racquets Club.
Cllr Jennie McCracken, mayor of Bracknell Forest borough, and Fadi Aldairi, trustee of the Hand in Hand for Syria charity, were at the poolside in Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, to cheer his last strokes.
Joseph, who goes to Holme Grange School in Wokingham, was watching Newsround on CBBC when children who had been forced to flee war-torn Syria were featured.
He decided he wanted to raise money and, as he is too young to plunge into the real Channel, he has been clocking up lengths all summer.
He has swum in pools as far away as Seattle and Reykjavik and has appeared on radio and television to push up donations.
He also teamed up with Oslar Coffee in Wokingham town centre to create a 21 Mile Milkshake, with 30 per cent of each one sold going to the cause.
His first target was £1,000 but now he will be giving £2,500 to Hand in Hand for Syria.
Mr Aldairi said: “The level of public support that Joseph has received has been really moving. We’ve seen this through our social media sites and even on the fundraising website JustGiving, who put his story on their main features page alongside F1 driver Jenson Button and Team GB’s Rebecca Adlington.
“We’d like to express our gratitude to Joseph and his parents for the efforts they have made in raising funds for our charity.”
Joseph and his father Greg, from Farley Hill, are going to refugee camps near the Syrian border to see how the charity will use the money the pint-sized swimmer has raised.