Fareham grandad swims along coast after cancer diagnosis

Laurie Brokenshire and family after their sponsored sea swim
Laurie Brokenshire and family after their sponsored sea swim
Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Solent News and Picture Agency

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A devastating diagnosis of terminal cancer did not deter family man Laurie Brokenshire from completing a sponsored swim.

The retired naval commodore took part in the 30-mile swim with his family to raise money for charity.

Laurie and his wife Ethel, from Fareham, have fostered 68 children while bringing up four of their own and the family took part in the swim shortly after Laurie’s gruelling six-week course of chemotherapy.

Between them, they swam 30 miles from Fowey in Cornwall to Plymouth.

They started in the dark, at 5.20am, and arrived in Plymouth Hoe just after 6pm.

It was a real family affair, with Laurie’s children joining him at various stages and grandchildren cheering him on.

They were swimming in open seas, three or four miles off the coast.

Reverend Richard England, vicar of Holy Rood and St Edmund’s Church in Stubbington where the family are parish members, said: ‘This would be an amazing feat for any of us. But it was incredible for someone recovering from chemotherapy.

‘In this situation, it would be easy to look inwards. But not Laurie. Typically, he decided to put others first and try to raise some money.

‘The swim has already raised £35,000 for charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Christian Vision for Men and Care for the Family.

‘What’s given Laurie the strength to keep going in such difficult circumstances? The support of his family and the church make a huge difference.

‘But, he knows that, in life and death, he belongs to God who will never let go of him. As a church community, we pray for Laurie and his family, as we pray for anyone who is suffering with ill health.

‘We don’t know what Laurie’s future holds, but we know who holds Laurie, whatever his future is.’

To make a donation, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ABC_Swim.