Wilf, 79, in splash for cash to help Leicester Heartlink charity
When it comes to celebrating his 80th birthday, Wilf Smith could just have settled for a party.
Instead, the sprightly 79-year-old has persuaded his family to join him in a sponsored swim for charity that will see them completing 1,000 lengths of his local pool in Ibstock.
Wilf will be swimming about 30 lengths of the 25-metre pool every day this week, before his son, daughter, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren join him in the water a week today to make the total of lengths up to 1,000.
It is all to raise money for Heartlink, a charity that buys equipment to help heart patients in Leicester.
Wilf, of Ibstock, had a heart attack 20 years ago and has had heart surgery twice.
He said: "We've always done everything as a family, so this is marvellous.
"I'm very proud they are all joining me.
"I could sit back and accept I had a heart attack, but I don't want to do that. It is important to be active and get on with life.
"Since I have been swimming again, I have felt a lot better.
"There's so much to do and you just have to have the right attitude. I think that's what keeps me alive."
During his working life, Wilf was always fit and active, going to the gym each day and refereeing football matches at weekends.
He was working for David Wilson Homes when he first had heart problems at the age of 60.
He said: "I was chairing a meeting in Nottingham when something happened and I woke up in Queen's Medical Centre.
"I had to retire early after that and I could have easily just sat on the sofa for the rest of my life but I didn't.
"I've had heart surgery twice and my wife, Eileen, has had pacemakers, so we've spent a fair bit of time in hospital.
"To mark by 80th birthday, I wanted to raise money for HeartLink, so we've got the family taking part and we should have a good time."
Wilf will be supported by daughter Jackie, of Measham, and son Michael, of Ibstock, as well as grandchildren Vicky, Rachel, Erica, Katie and Holly, and great grandchildren Zach, Isla, Alfie and Evelyn. His wife Eileen will be cheering them on from the pool side.
Wilf and his family hope to raise about £4,000 for HeartLink – and have already collected more than £2,000 in sponsorship.
Although he does not turn 80 until June, the swim is the first charity event he has planned to mark his landmark birthday year.
The main sponsor of the swim is developer Davidsons, an offshoot of David Wilson Homes, where Wilf used to work. The company has donated £300.
Stephanie King, sales director of Davidsons Homes, said "We are very pleased to sponsor Wilf. He's amazing to be doing this at nearly 80, and we wish him well on the day."
To sponsor Wilf, visit: