Eight-year-old with rare arm disability completes three-mile swim
A BOY born with a rare handicap to his arm completed a three-mile swim in Bolton on Friday with two friends to raise money for charity.
Luke Batty, aged eight, has ulnar club hand, a condition that affects only one in 14 million people.
Despite being unable to bend his right elbow and having only two fingers on his right hand, top swimmer Luke regularly blows able bodied children out of the water — with experts predicting a Paralympic future for the youngster.
Along with friends Harry Haslam, aged nine, and eight-year-old Thomas Hamlett, Luke completed the 5,000m swim at the David Lloyd gym in Chorley Street to raise funds for Reach, a charity that helps children with upper limb deficiencies.
His father Michael, aged 35, from Horwich, said Luke’s talent was uncovered soon after he first learnt to swim.
“We wanted him to know how to swim and his instructor said he had some talent,” said Mr Batty.
“He actually beats the able-bodied kids in the year above him and we’ve had disabled talent officers for this region tell us that he could well compete properly when he’s older.”
In certain disciplines, Luke’s times are way above those expected of children with his disability and experts have told Mr Batty that improvements to his strokes could boost these still further.
Friends, family and swimming colleagues at David Lloyd have supported Luke’s fundraising swim, including his sisters Jessica and Emma, aged six and five, and friends at St Joseph’s Primary School, where Luke will enter Year 4 when he returns next week.
All three children completed the swim yesterday morning.
Nine-year-old Harry, from Bromley Cross, is raising money for Operation Florian, a charity which raises money to improve fire protection services in poorer countries.
His firefighter father Mark, aged 40, is running the New York Marathon in November for the same charity in honour of Stephen Hunt, the 38-year-old who died tackling a blaze in Oldham Street, Manchester in July.
Thomas, from Little Lever, was swimming to assist Leukaemia Care and Help for Heroes.
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