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Grannie inspires Jess to dive in; Teen's dementia swim challenge.

Byline: Mark Pirie

A plucky 14-year-old schoolgirl is taking on a huge charity swimming challenge after being inspired by her Plains gran.

Elizabeth Ferguson has been battling dementia for five years, and her bravery has encouraged granddaughter Jess to swim an incredible 3600 pool lengths - equivalent to 56 miles - for Alzheimer Scotland.

Elizabeth, known locally as "Betty", attends a lunch club held at Wellwynd Sheltered Housing in Airdrie two days a week, supported by her daughter Wilma.

Jess and her dad, who live in Swindon, regularly visit Betty during school holidays and drove up recently ahead of the swim challenge, which kicked off last week.

She aims to complete the run of swims within 12 weeks.

Jess said: "I love swimming so decided to set my challenge at 56 miles because I found out that around 90,000 people in Scotland are living with the illness.

"I then worked out that 90,000 metres is 3600 lengths which tallies up to 56 miles. "I've just got started and want to thank everyone who has donated so far."

Dad Ian Ferguson added: "Having already raised money for a cancer charity in memory of her papa, Jess wanted to help raise money for Alzheimer Scotland following her gran's vascular dementia diagnosis in 2013.

"It's a big challenge but Jess is pretty determined to complete the swim by taking to the pool after school and at weekends.

"The whole family is really proud of all that she has achieved so far."

Marilyn Boyd, community fundraiser for Alzheimer Scotland, added: "We're so grateful to Jess for helping us to challenge dementia and to her whole family for their support and wish her well for the weeks ahead."

If you want to support Jess in her swim challenge visit her Just Giving page at

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Publication:Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser (Lanarkshire, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 7, 2018
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