A retired Cheshire police officer has braved the cold waters of Bala Lake in North Wales to raise £465 for St Luke’s Hospice.

Gareth Jones, who retired from Cheshire police 15 years ago, said: “I have always been passionate about swimming, and so I thought I would set myself a challenge to swim the 4 mile length of Bala Lake. I decided to change my personal challenge to a fundraising one after speaking to Mark Gammage, an Events Fundraiser at St Luke’s Hospice and learning about the marvellous work the Hospice does.”

Gareth Jones began training in early summer last year ready to brave the water for his fundraising swim in late August. He said: “After months of training, and a few cancelled opportunities due to bad weather, I did the swim on August 13th followed closely behind by my friend Andy in a RIB boat. It went smoothly until I reached the halfway point when the wind suddenly picked up causing the water to become choppy. The conditions became so bad I almost abandoned the swim altogether. Fortunately I had a snorkel with me which I used to push through the rest of my swim!”

Mr Jones completed his 4 mile open water challenge in 3 hours and 15 minutes which has raised an impressive £465 for St Luke’s Hospice thanks to the generosity of friends, family and supporters. Mark Gammage, Events Fundraiser at St Luke’s, said: “As a fellow retired Cheshire police officer I’m really proud of Gareth for completing his swim and raising money for such a good cause. St Luke’s is ran mostly on donations, so fundraising challenges like Gareth’s make a real difference and help our nurses care for local people.”

Gareth Jones has said he is ready for his next swimming challenge and has begun training to swim Windermere and eventually the gruelling 30 mile swim of Loch Awe in Scotland.