Channel swimmer makes splash at 84

Ron Fuller, who lives at Belong Atherton, in the swimming pool with support worker Mike Brimelow

Ron Fuller, who lives at Belong Atherton, in the swimming pool with support worker Mike Brimelow

A veteran swimmer has taken the plunge and returned to the pool after more than 30 years thanks to a leading care provider.

Ron Fuller, who lives at the Belong Atherton specialist dementia care village, was tempted to get back in the water after being matched with support worker Mike Brimelow.

The keen 84-year-old sports enthusiast suffers from painful joints which prevents him keeping up many of the active pastimes he used to do, but Mike suggested swimming would not put too much pressure on his knees.

Ron, whose sporting exploits include swimming the English Channel, and Mike now head to a local pool each week and manage between eight and 10 laps in each session, with incredible results.

The pensioner, who has lived in an apartment at the Mealhouse Lane village for four years, was encouraged to get back into active hobbies following the death of his wife Dorothy by staff at the village who thought it would help get him through the difficult months of grieving.

Support worker Mike said: “Ron and I both have a very keen interest in sports, so I was looking forward to working with him.

“He has completed the London Marathon several times in the past, and he’s even swum the English Channel! Now he enjoys going for walks and playing golf, even having a kick about of the football when the local team are playing.

“Even though we’ve only been going swimming for a couple of months, lots of people have commented on the difference it has made to Ron.

“He was very down after losing his wife, and to see him happy and excited before every session is great. Ron is a natural sportsman, so he likes to challenge himself and he thrives when he beats his previous performance, which he does all of the time.

“His progression has been fantastic and it is a privilege to work with him.”

Ron was given his new lease of life in the swimming pool thanks to the Belong at Home care service and staff are also delighted how well the link-up between him and Mike has worked out.

Claire Culshaw, Belong at Home manager, said: “Belong at Home is built on providing the quality Belong service to those in the local community that wish to remain in their homes and live independently.

“We provide the support you need, when you need it, and it is successful because we take the time to match customers to the best member of staff for them, whether you need help doing household chores or getting out and about.

“Seeing a familiar, friendly face can really make all the difference for our customers and it is a real testament to the talent and dedication of our staff when we hear stories like Ron’s.”