West Craven women’s charity challenges

Jo Norton-Barker who is swimmming a mile, on the hour, every hour, for 24 hours at the Guildford Lido in aid of Help for Heroes. A130411/2a

Jo Norton-Barker who is swimmming a mile, on the hour, every hour, for 24 hours at the Guildford Lido in aid of Help for Heroes. A130411/2a

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Two West Craven women are embarking on challenges to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

Jo Norton-Barker (41), a systems accountant consultant from Barnoldswick is going to swim one mile every hour for 24 hours straight to raise money for Help For Heroes.

And 34-year-old Faye Thompson from Earby is taking part in a 10km “Well Walk” event to raise money for Diabetes UK, a condition both she and her father have.

Jo’s gruelling swim will see her and other entrants to the 2swim4life event in Guildford cover a distance greater than an English Channel swim.

The mother of two said she signed up to the event taking place next Saturday because she is keen to support the military charity and knows it is a cause backed by many people in West Craven.

“I know people who have connections to the charity and I don’t think enough is said for the boys and girls. They’re given a bit of a raw deal but anybody can do their bit to help them.”

Jo, who lives with fiance Nick and children Jennifer and Hannah on Ambleside Avenue isn’t short of swimming experience. She’s swum the lengths of Windemere and Coniston, taken part in the Champion of Champions swim around Dover harbour, and participated in Channel relays. She is also hoping to complete a solo swim of the English Channel next year.

But she knows the challenge will still be tough.

“When it gets to one or two in the morning I will be scraping the bottom of the barrel,” she said. “But I have had lots of support from family, friends and the guys at West Craven Sports Centre where I have been training. And I will have my family with me on the day to cheer me on.”

Faye Thompson is taking part in the Well Walk in Leeds on May 22nd to raise funds for Diabetes UK because she and her dad both have Type 2 diabetes.

Faye was diagnosed with the serious life-long condition in 2003 at a GP check up after returning home from living in Kent.

She said: “As my Dad has Type 2 diabetes I was checked as a matter of course and it actually didn’t come as a surprise I had developed it too. The nurses were good to me and gave me lots of advice about how I should maintain my blood sugar at the right level.”

Faye has fund-raised for Diabetes UK before by taking part in the Leeds 2008 “Walk in the Park” and a more adrenaline-fuelled bungee jump in Manchester in 2007.

She admits that since her diagnosis she is far more cautious about her health, taking regular physical activity and sticking to a diet rich in fruit and vegetables but low in fat, sugar and salt.

“As I’ve never been a huge alcoholic drinker, this hasn’t altered and if I’m going to eat something high in sugar that I know will affect my levels, I ensure it is something I enjoy and only eat it in moderation. I exercise more now too and try to go out for a mile-and-a-half walk every day,” she said.

Ann Rowe, Diabetes UK Fund-raising Manager for the Northern and Yorkshire region, said: “We are very grateful to Faye and her fund-raising efforts. Every penny raised will help improve the lives of people with diabetes.

“We still have places available if you would like to join Faye on the walk. Come and take a stroll for what promises to be a relaxing and fun day.”

To take part in the 2011 Diabetes UK Well Walk call Julie Nattrass on 01325 488606 or email julie.nattrass@diabetes.org.uk for further information and a fund-raising pack.

To support Jo’s marathon swimming efforts, visit www.bmycharity.com/2swim4lifejo