Mary takes the plunge – at 90

Mary Armitage, 89 - former mayoress of Calderdale, will do charity swim for Overgate Hospice to celebrate her 90th Birthday'Pictured at Brighouse Swimming Pool
Mary Armitage, 89 - former mayoress of Calderdale, will do charity swim for Overgate Hospice to celebrate her 90th Birthday'Pictured at Brighouse Swimming Pool

A FUND-RAISING pensioner who has raised thousands of pounds for numerous charities over the years is set for her latest challenge.

Mary Armitage will be making a splash at Brighouse Pool to celebrate her 90th birthday, which is in October, and raise money for Overgate Hospice.

The former mayoress of Calderdale completed her last charity swim ten years ago, where she and her fellow swimmers raised £2,000 for multiple sclerosis.

“I said after that I would do another swim for my 90th and I have been held to it,” said Mrs Armitage, of The Grove, Hipperholme.

“Everywhere I go people recognise me, and ask when am I doing another sponsored swim.

“I have always liked swimming and the water since I was a girl.”

Along with six other swimmers and hopefully her son Christopher, from Cheshire, Mrs Armitage is aiming to raise £2,000 for the hospice in Elland, on May 14, at 1.30pm.

The hospice has been close to her for many years, and is playing an important role now for her family.

Daughter Helen Armitage, 55, has been treated for bone cancer for the last two years and is a day patient at Overgate.

“I have always supported the hospice. It is a wonderful place and I have visited many times. They do some fantastic work,” said Mrs Armitage, who for her 80th birthday did not ask for presents but for money to be donated to Overgate.

Her charity swimming began in 1975, when a friend said that once you turned 50, you have ‘had it’.

Mrs Armitage decided to prove her wrong and raised money for the National Children Home.

By Easter she had already raised her target of £1,000 and by October, she had collected another £1,000.

Many charities including Christian Aid, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Halifax Thespians and Christ Church at Hipperholme have been the benefactors of Mrs Armitage’s generosity.

She is also encouraging anybody who wants to take part in the swim or help volunteer on the day to contact her on 01422 201324.