March school boy’s splashing effort for charity

Harry Copeman who is doing 350 lengths = 5 miles for meningitis charity ANL-140825-070514009
Harry Copeman who is doing 350 lengths = 5 miles for meningitis charity ANL-140825-070514009

A March schoolboy is thought to be the youngest person to swim five miles after completing a sponsored swim for charity.

Nine-year-old Harry Copeman swam a gruelling 320 lengths of the swimming pool at March’s George Campbell Centre on Friday – in just four hours.

The Westwood Junior School pupil took on the challenge in aid of the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), after battling pneumococcal meningitis in 2005, when he was just three-months-old.

He was supported on the day of his mammoth swim by proud parents Chris and Sadie, sister Libby and other family members and friends.

Dad Chris said: “We can’t believe how well he did. We thought he would take around four-and-a-half to five hours to complete it, but he did it in four. He finished and it was like he hadn’t even done anything. He was running around like normal.

“We don’t believe this distance has been completed by someone as young as nine before. We have contacted the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) and we’re just awaiting confirmation to see if that’s the case.”

Chris thanked everyone who supported Harry on the day, but paid special thanks to Harry’s fellow March Marlins Swimming Club member Nat Cook who swam a lot of the distance with him to set the pace and help keep him going.

Harry, who spent three weeks in hospital when he contracted meningitis, said he was “proud” to finish the five miles and pleased to do something to raise money for the charity. He has already raised more than £300 in sponsorship, with more money coming in.

Mum Sadie said: “Since Harry beat the illness, we have completed a number of events raising money for the MRF as a thank you for the support we were given whilst he was ill.

“But Harry decided he wanted to do something himself to raise money for others that have suffered from this illness.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation can visit Harry’s fundraising page at: