WATCH: Waterlooville schoolboy to tackle swimming challenge for charity in memory of his dad

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A YOUNG boy is vowing to raise £2,000 for charity after losing his dad to cancer.

The nine-year-old, from Waterlooville, will tackle a swimming challenge for Cancer Research UK in a bid ‘to stop other children having to go through the pain of losing a loved one’.

Jake Clarke with mum Michelle  'Picture:  Malcolm Wells (170626-1216)

Jake Clarke with mum Michelle 'Picture: Malcolm Wells (170626-1216)

Jake Clarke, who attends Padnell Junior School, hopes the funds can be used to help find a cure for cancer.

He’ll attempt to swim 40 lengths in one hour at Waterlooville Leisure Centre.

Jake’s mum Michelle, 32, said: ‘My son’s dad Matt Clarke died of a brain tumour in 2011 – Jake was just four.

‘Matt found out he had a tumour aged 18 but it wasn’t cancerous then.

Jake Clarke with his father Matthew Clarke

Jake Clarke with his father Matthew Clarke

‘He had an operation in January 2008 to remove most of it, but we were told shortly afterwards he only had two-to-three years to live, he managed four.

‘My first thought was about the major milestones in Jake’s life that Matt would miss.

‘It was devastating.’

Jake was told his dad was poorly, but Michelle and Matt decided he wasn’t to know the nature of the illness.

Mr Clarke, who was from West Leigh, died aged 27, but the family have always made sure he’s a part of Jake’s life.

Having now been told about the reason behind his dad’s death, the boy decided he wanted to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Michelle, now mum to 10-month old Florence with partner Shane, added: ‘Jake woke up one morning and told me he wanted to raise money for charity.

‘He was going to sit outside with a bucket asking for donations, but after I gave him some other fundraising ideas we decided on a sponsored swimming challenge.

‘Jake will swim as many lengths as he can in one hour.

‘I’m super proud of him and I know Matt would be too, he’s an amazing boy.’

Michelle set up a fundraising page for Jake with a target of £100. That’s been smashed already, as the youngster has received more than £1,000.

Jake, who has been training for his challenge on July 15, said: ‘By raising money for charity I could help to stop other children losing relatives to cancer, which is why I want to raise £2,000.

‘What I’m going to do will be a challenge, I’m excited and nervous.

‘I want to make my dad proud and I’m speechless about the support I’ve been given so far.’

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