A TALENTED young swimmer will be making a splash next month – all in the name of charity.

Thea Hughes, from Newton-le-Willows, is hoping to swim 8km in March and raise vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The kind-hearted nine-year-old is so determined to support the charity that she intends to increase her target of 330 lengths to 500!

She’s already smashed her £200 target and has collected nearly £400.

Thea, who is in year five at St Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Newton-le-Willows, will be completing the challenge at Newton-le-Willows Health and Fitness throughout the month of March while she swims for the amateur swimming club.

Thea is no stranger to swimming long distances having completed 118 lengths in just 60 minutes at the club’s recent long distance swim event.

She also took first place in the backstroke, butterfly, freestyle, breaststroke and medley in the girls nine and under category at the club swimming gala.

Thea and her sister Izzy completing the Ormskirk 3km at Edge Hill University

Thea and her sister Izzy completing the Ormskirk 3km at Edge Hill University

Mum Ann-Marie said: “Thea was taught to swim by her grandad from the age of six months.

“A friend of the family showed Thea the charity challenge as they know about her passion and love for swimming.

“Thea said straight away that it was a great way to use her swimming skills.

“She is an extremely confident swimmer and feels 500 lengths rather than 330 is achievable.

“She wants to raise as much as she can for Great Ormond Street Hospital.”

Thea has done charity fundraising in the past, collecting money for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust by completing the Ormskirk 3km fun run at Edge Hill University for the past three years.

Thea has run the Ormskirk 3km fun run for the past three years

Thea has run the Ormskirk 3km fun run for the past three years

Ann-Marie said: “This year, Thea came third in the U16s and fifth in the whole race, receiving her medal from the mayor.

“Thea lives and breathe sport and fitness.

“If she’s not running, circuit training, swimming or football training then she’s not happy!

“She’s now decided she would like to learn to roller-skate and is determined to master it by attending beginners classes at Wigan Roller Rink.”

Thea plays for Vulcan Juniors FC and plays for the Wildcats U11s each Sunday having stepped up an age category and she has just signed for Huyton Girls U11s.

Ann-Marie said: “Thea always puts her heart and soul into everything she does and gives 100 per cent in everything that she commits to.

“We have no doubt that she will give her all to this charity fundraiser and we are immensely proud of her, as always.

“Thea is an inspirational role model to her younger sister Izzy, who is now following in her footsteps with football and fitness.”

Click here to donate to Thea’s fundraising page