A North East mum braved a plunge in Lake Windermere and swam a mile through open water to raise money for the North East Autism Society (NEAS).

Sarah Jackson, from Whickham, was inspired to take on the challenge of the Great North Swim by her autistic son Henry.

NEAS supported Sarah and her family through Henry’s diagnosis and transition into school.

Sarah said: “Henry is happiest when in water, whether that’s the sea, a lake, a swimming pool, or even the bath.”

Although this was Sarah’s first time swimming as far as a mile in open water, she completed the swim in one hour and three minutes, and raised a total of £575 for the Society.

Sarah said:

I’m over the moon. The conditions weren’t great, but it was an excellent experience.

The money raised will go towards funding NEAS’ Family Development programmes, which provide lifeline support to the families of autistic children and young people before, during, and after diagnosis.

Jon Appleton, Community and Events Fundraising Officer at NEAS, said: “It’s amazing that Sarah has chosen to benefit NEAS in taking on this challenge, and we’re truly thankful for her support.

Fundraisers like Sarah help us make a massive difference to autistic people and their families across the region, and no matter how supporters choose to raise money, it’s great to see people taking on new challenges.

Sign-ups for the Great North Swim and the Great North SwimRun 2025 are open now, with a range of distances to suit different swimming abilities, and an early bird offer on bookings.

For more information on the Great North Swim, or to enter yourself, visit: https://greatswim.org