A WORKSOP father has raised £800 for his autistic son by swimming the distance of the English Channel.
Phil Dixon, of Greenwood Close, swam 1,416 lengths of the pool at Worksop Leisure Centre - the equivalent of the 22 miles between Dover and Calais - in just one week.
Three other swimmers, Paul Bolan, Liz Morris, and Amy Appleby, completed the challenge last weekend after being inspired by Phil’s six-year old son Liam, who has severe autism and cannot speak.
The four of them have raised around £1,000 to help Liam, his school Redlands Primary, and learning disability charities Friends Together and Mencap.
The 35-year-old, who raised £2,000 for Mencap last year by growing a moustache for charity event Movember, said he wanted to set himself a personal challenge to give something back to those who have helped his son.
Phil said: “Liam loves swimming, it’s one of the things we can do together. Even though he can’t speak, he screams a lot and is noisy and is not very different to any other kids in that sense.”
“He’s just an excited little boy. He loves everything to do with water.”
Phil will be using the money to help buy some picture cards for his son so he can communicate with people if he gets lost.
The money will also provide sensory equipment at his school which helps him relax, with the rest going to learning disability charities.
Friends Together organise events for friends and family of disabled children, where they take over a swimming pool or public area.
Phil said: “It’s a much nicer environment to take Liam to as he can appear very boisterous and aggressive to people - and being in an environment where people understand that makes it much more relaxing.”
Mencap provide respite for families with disabled children, which gives Phil and his wife Lyndsey more time to spend with Liam’s older brother Jai.
If you want to get involved in organising your own swim the channel in aid of Mencap, you can contact area fundraiser Anne Malia on 078852 189185.