A STRENUOUS challenge saw kind-hearted youngsters paddle the equivalent length of the Great Wall of China — raising £1,850 for two causes close to their hearts.

Lucy Cheong, aged 10, came up with the idea to organise a sponsored swim and persuaded five of her friends to take part.

The challenge, which took place at Lancashire Health and Racquet Club in Middleton last month, saw the children swim 70 lengths each to raise £1,400 for Grace’s Place children’s hospice in Radcliffe and £450 for an orphanage in Ganzhou, China.

Lucy said: “I heard that sick children who needed hospice care had to travel a long way, and I thought that was sad, so I wanted to make it easier.

“The orphanage in China is where I spent the first 15 months of my life.”

Lucy Legg, Kate Bird and Millie Ealing from Bury Grammar School Grils also took part along with Sam Bird from Bury Grammar Boys and Fraya Leinweber from Greenmount Primary.

The year six swimmers collected most of their money from sponsorship with £600 coming from a raffle they organised.

Lucy’s mum Susan Cheong added: “It was fabulous but hard work.

“The kids were fantastic and were all cheering each other on.

“Everyone was so pleased when they completed their 70 lengths and it was a great bonding exercise.

“We want to thank all who supported the swim and helped make it special, and to all the buddies who counted the number of lengths and cheered the swimmers on.”

Grace’s Place children’s hospice launched a £1 million appeal last autumn and is scheduled to open in Dumers Lane in October.

For more information or to make a donation: call 0161 762 5715 or go to graces-place.org