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Date: 26 May 2024

Time: 13:04

David Wardle's story

A great big thank you!

Wayne Durham sadly passed away in September 2007, aged just 28, after he developed liver failure. Almost two years to the day later, Wayne’s cousin David Wardle took part in the Great North Swim, raising over £2,700 for UHB Charities [now the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity] – the official charity of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The Great North Swim is part of a four-race series held in various locations across the UK. David was one of over 6,000 swimmers who tackled the one-mile distance across England’s largest water, Lake Windemere on 12 September. Among those taking part in the challenge were Ireland’s most successful distance runner Sonia O’Sullivan, GMTV’S Dr Hilary Jones, Andy Burnham MP and Steve McFadden who plays Phil Mitchell in Eastenders.

David completed the course in 28 minutes and 54 seconds, coming 13th in his heat. “It was a tremendous challenge,” explained David, “In order to get fit enough to do it, I had to give up smoking after 25 years and start exercising.

“For my age and build I came 49th overall, which is great because over 6,000 swam over the two days. I even swam quicker than Steve McFadden and Dr Hilary Jones.

“The water wasn’t particularly warm – it was about 16 degrees – but it didn’t feel cold. I was just enjoying the swim and the scenery, which was absolutely beautiful.”

This isn’t the end of David’s swimming or fund raising. His next challenge is to swim the Channel in a relay team, which he hopes to achieve in August 2010, to raise more money for the hospital that cared for Wayne.

Julie Jones, who works on ward East 3B, said: “We are extremely grateful for the donation Wayne’s family has made to the unit over the past few years. The money David has raised from the Great North Swim will be put towards a new ECG machine for the liver ward. This will mean that patients will do not have to be moved around the hospital to have a scan.”

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