Batmitzvah girl raises £6,000 for children’s hospice with marathon swim
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Batmitzvah girl raises £6,000 for children’s hospice with marathon swim

Jaye Okin, 12, together with her classmates at Queenswood School, is preparing to swim 1,500 lengths - the equivalent of the English Channel - on 26 June

Jaye
Jaye

A batmitzvah girl who attends an independent girls’ school near Hatfield has inspired her classmates to swim the equivalent of the English Channel to raise money for a children’s hospice.

Jaye Okin, 12, from Hadley Wood, is preparing for her batmitzvah in May 2020 and raising money for Noah’s Ark, which supports babies and children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families in north London and Hertsmere.

Together with her classmates at Queenswood School, she is preparing to swim a gruelling 1,500 lengths – the equivalent of the English Channel – on 26 June.

She chose the charity after completing a recent Mitzvah Day activity at her synagogue, Edgware Reform, where she sorted clothes and toys being donated to the charity’s shops.

“When she reads from the Torah to mark that religious milestone, she’ll be reading a section focused on charity and community,” a charity spokesman said. “This resonated so deeply with her that she immediately decided to undertake a major charitable activity.”

It was a natural activity for Jaye, who was been swimming since the age of two, but it was her head of year, Miss Chloe Bassett, who decided to get the whole year group to join in.

This week Jaye said: “One and a half thousand lengths sounds like a lot of swimming, but when I think of all of the children we could be helping, I’ll keep going.”

To-date she has raised more than £6,000, which was her initial target. This will go towards the building of The Ark, the new children’s hospice which will be opening this year in Barnet.

“I have the utmost respect for Jaye and her brilliant classmates, who are an inspiration,” said Alison Goodman, director of fundraising at Noah’s Ark. “Jaye has raised a huge amount of money to help seriously unwell children and their families and we are so grateful.”

Jo Cameron, principal of Queenswood School, said: “I am so proud of Jaye and her year group. Swimming the distance of the English Channel in a single afternoon is such an impressive and inspiring initiative and I cannot think of a worthier local cause.”

Jaye’s mum, Michelle Okin, said: “It’s just fantastic that Jaye and the girls have set themselves such a challenging task for this special charity.”

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