Burnley mum ‘to swim Channel’ for Salute

Kelly McNeill who is doing a sponsored swim 'across the channel' at St Peter's Leisure Centre in aid of Salute.
Kelly McNeill who is doing a sponsored swim 'across the channel' at St Peter's Leisure Centre in aid of Salute.

Mother-of-four Kelly McNeill is hoping to highlight the cause of army veterans like herself by doing a Channel swim – although she is staying in Burnley!

Kelly (34) is raising money for Salute, based on Yorkshire Street, which is a veterans organisation which supports and advises ex-army personnel in the East Lancashire area.

I am a veteran myself so I know how difficult adapting to civilian life again can be. There isn’t a lot of help for veterans out there

Mother-of-four Kelly McNeill

Kelly, whose children are aged between four and 16, works as a volunteer caseworker for Salute and will be completing a Channel swimming challenge in St Peter’s Centre pool which equates to 1416 lengths between May 10th-20th, despite struggling with a hip condition.

“I served for 15 years in the army and came out in 2011,” said Kelly. “I am a veteran myself so I know how difficult adapting to civilian life again can be. There isn’t a lot of help for veterans out there.

“At Salute, we have assisted more than 900 veterans and that number increases weekly and we need events like this to maintain our standards of service.

“I am not a great swimmer, although I do enjoy it and I do have a hip condition, but I wanted to do something and swimming is low impact and so it doesn’t make my hips worse.

“I am doing 1416 lengths in St Peter’s pool which is the equivalent of the Channel swim.

“I am aiming to do this in 10 days and in under 30 hours overall which works out at 141 lengths a day.

“I have other commitments during this time such as my family and husband and also my work at Salute,

“The target is £1,000 for this event. £30 is the equivalent to a single counselling session for a veteran so it could make a big difference.”

There will also be a charity bike ride and a coast-to-coast walk later this year with a fundraising target of £5,000.

And if they can do that, then Salute centre manager Aileen McBirney Hutchinson will be flying through the air to boost the coffers.

“If we reach the target, Aileen, who is scared of heights, has said that she will do a parachute jump in order to raise more money so we can continue to support the veterans in the area at the capacity that we need to,” added Kelly.

To support the Salute team either drop in to their Yorkshire Street office, near the KSC 110 Club, or go to the link https://localgiving.com/fundraising/saluteltd. They also have a Facebook page www.facebook.com/pages/Salute/103474519737908?fref=ts.