HE’S A young boy who wants to make a difference to the lives of cancer sufferers after his dad died of the disease.
And by diving headfirst into a swimming challenge with family cheering him on from the sidelines – Jake Clarke has done just that.
The nine-year-old from Waterlooville has raised almost £2,000 for Cancer Research UK in a bid to stop children losing their parents to the disease.
Jake swam 36 lengths of the pool at Waterlooville Leisure Centre in 45 minutes, without taking a break, in memory of his dad Matt Clarke.
Matt died of a brain tumour in 2011 and when Jake was old enough to understand the reason behind his death, he vowed to do something to help.
His mum Michelle, 32, organised the charity event, for which donations have poured in.
She said: ‘I’m so proud of Jake.
‘The whole thing was his idea and to watch him complete the challenge, plus watch how determined he’s been to raise money, has been amazing.
‘The atmosphere was brilliant on Saturday and other people using the pool were even cheering Jake on.
‘He wasn’t even nervous beforehand, just excited, because he knows he’s potentially going to make a difference to the lives of others by donating this money to Cancer Research UK.
‘Everyone has been so generous and we can’t thank them enough.’
Jake completed his challenge in a lane designated especially for him, and was joined by friends from Padnell Juniors, and family members including cousins and grandparents for support.
The youngster originally set himself a target of £100, but has so far raised £1,900.
Jake, who admitted the challenge would be tough, said: ‘I’m proud of myself because it went really well.
‘It’s a big achievement for me and the last few lengths were hard, but my cousin Harvey Foale cheered me on and kept me going.’
And Jake’s not done yet as he wants to do more to help when he’s older.
He added: ‘I want to tackle Tough Mudder and get people to sponsor me for that.
‘I want to thank my mum for organising everything and everyone who has donated to my fundraising page, it means a lot.
‘I’m sure my dad is very proud of me.’
To donate, visit fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/jakes-sponsored-swim