Siblings ‘swim channel’ for baby charity

Aby and Ben Heavyside from Halifax are raising money for a charity that supports ill and prematurely born babies in memory of their brother and Aby's twin, Sam, who died before his first birthday.

Aby and Ben Heavyside from Halifax are raising money for a charity that supports ill and prematurely born babies in memory of their brother and Aby's twin, Sam, who died before his first birthday.

A brother and sister duo from Halifax swam the length of the English Channel to raise money to help prematurely born and ill babies.

Aby Heavyside, 24, was born three months premature with her twin brother Sam who died before his first birthday.

Over recent weeks Aby and her younger brother Ben, 20, both from Whitehill Road in Illingworth, each swam the equivalent distance of the channel – or 1,481 lengths – at Halifax Swimming Baths to raise money for charity Bliss, which helps ill babies.

Aby said: “Sam died two weeks before our first birthday and I wanted to do it in memory of him. It’s a cause that’s very close to my heart.

“Personally, I have had to overcome lots of challenges over the last seven years, one of which was being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at the age of 17.

“This in itself does pose additional hurdles for me to overcome. This is one of the reasons I have set myself another challenge, to prove to myself that I’ve still got it.

“Without the immense support, care and love from the doctors and nurses at Leeds special care baby unit, Sam wouldn’t have had the life he did and the Heavyside family wouldn’t have been supported in the way that they were.

“So now its our turn to help those babies and families who need that extra support in those early stages of life.

“Both me and Ben have really enjoyed doing it.”

Aby said taking on the challenge was the first time she had been swimming since she was 16.

The siblings’ efforts have so far raised £765 of their £500 target and are planning further fundraising in the new year.

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abyheavyside to donate to Aby and Ben’s cause or visit www.bliss.org.uk to learn about Bliss.