NEWLY elected Green Party councillor on Ilkley Town Council, Owen Wells, has just raised £2600 for Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice.

Owen was sponsored to swim a mile, in Lake Windermere during the Great North Swim.

Owen said: “My dear wife, Delia, died the way she wanted, at home, in her own bed, surrounded by her children and our dog. She was able to die as she wanted, due to the wonderful Hospice-at-Home service provided by Manorlands. This sponsored swim was my way of saying thank you.”

Owen only started swimming lessons at Ilkley Pool in March 2017, six months after his wife died.

He said that on his first lesson he could not manage one complete length of the pool doing the crawl. He wanted a goal to provide motivation, so he decided to do the Great North Swim.

Last year he swam a half a mile in Windermere and raised a little over £2,000 for charity. This year he thought he would go a bit further and did the mile.

“I feel very proud,” he said. “I came second in my age group, but most of all, I am proud that I raised a substantial sum for Manorlands. Also swimming in the Great North Swim were five other members of the family. My wife’s son, her six-month pregnant daughter, her step daughter, a niece and a great nephew.

“I think between us we raised something over £5,000 for various cancer charities and for Manorlands.”

And as for next year? “Well the next step up is 5km and that might be a little bit too far, but we shall have to see,” added Owen.

Manorlands Hospice fundraiser, Karen Jones, said: “We are so grateful to Owen for raising such an amazing amount. This could pay for two syringe drivers to give constant symptom relief for patients and a bed for a day of inpatient care for a hospice patient! What a brilliant achievement! It is heart warming to hear how Manorlands Hospice made such a difference to Delia, Owen and their family.”

Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope needs to raise £2.1m in voluntary income every year to continue to provide expert palliative care, advice and support for people across Airedale, Wharfedale, Craven and North and West Bradford, who are living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families.