A LEDBURY pensioner, about to turn 80, will swim one length of Ledbury Swimming Pool for every day of his life, in memory of his wife and to raise funds for St Michael's Hospice.

Gerald Brooke, who turns 80 next month, is no stranger to the pool, where he often manages an impressive 40 lengths; but his challenge on Friday, July 13, will be double that, as the marks his birthday by saying a big fund-raising thank you to the hospice.

The hospice cared for his wife, Barbara, until her death, aged 72, and since then it has held a very special place in Mr Brooke's heart.

He said: "The staff made her feel very comfortable. They eased and cured her pains and allowed her to be as active as possible. It was all about dignity really."

Mr Brooke described his wife as a very reserved person but said the hospice "allowed her to be herself".

He added: "Watching a loved one die is a distressing experience, but St Michael’s staff made it as pain-free as possible. It’s a sign of humanity being alive and well. And this is why I feel so passionate about doing the swim."

Mr Brooke is also planning a celebration to mark his 80th birthday, when he will ask guests to donate funds for the hospice appeal.

St Michael's Hospice, near Hereford, is an independent charity, and all our services are offered free of charge.

It costs over £13,000 per day to provide patients with all the care they need; and 90% of all its funding is raised by the local community

Anyone wishing to sponsor Mr Brooke for his swim should email: geraldbrooke@btinternet.com for further details.