A NORTH-EAST construction manager is to swim across England’s largest lake to support an appeal aimed at improving the care of North-East cancer patients.

Greg O’Connell will be swimming in Lake Windermere to raise money towards County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Charity’s cancer appeal.

Mr O’Connell, who has taken part in the Great North Swim several times since the first event was held in 2008, will tackle the competition’s longest route by swimming 10km in the lake, in water that could be as cold as 13 degrees C.

He and his supporters are hoping to raise £500 towards the Excellence in Cancer Care appeal, which is aiming to generate £1 million by June 2020 to establish a centre of excellence for cancer care at the University Hospital of Durham.

The 33-year-old managing director of GOC Construction Management was inspired to support the new appeal, launched by the trust’s official charity, because of support he and his family had received.

He said: “The NHS is always there for us when we need it most, so I hope to raise some money to show that we are there for our local NHS when they need us too.

“The charity does some really, really important work. They’ve been really helpful to me personally, and they help fund things the trust themselves wouldn’t normally be able to afford”.

“Their work helps improve the lives of thousands of patients in our community. What they’re doing is absolutely fantastic, and anything we can do to help them will be amazing”.

“We’re just trying to raise as much money as we can for the new chemotherapy appeal and have fun in the process!”

A keen member of the Derwent Open Water Swimmers, Mr O’Connell has been training in Derwent Reservoir, near Consett, in preparation for the challenge ahead.

Anyone wishing to contribute to his fundraising can visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gns2019