Girl, 11, aims to swim 64 lengths of pool at Bury Leisure Centre to raise money for Children in Need

Phoebe Mousley-Hastings, 11, who is swimming a mile for Children in Need tomorrow at Bury St Edmund

Phoebe Mousley-Hastings, 11, who is swimming a mile for Children in Need tomorrow at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Despite having a disability of her own, an 11-year-old girl from Bury St Edmunds feels there are children worse off than her.

Phoebe Mousley-Hastings

Phoebe Mousley-Hastings - Credit: Gregg Brown

That is why youngster Phoebe Mousley-Hastings has decided to swim a mile – 64 lengths – all in one go tomorrow at Bury Leisure Centre in aid of Children in Need.

Phoebe, a pupil at Bury’s Hardwick Middle School, struggles herself with a hidden speech and language disorder – which people would never know from the outset – and needs additional support at school and at home.

She caught the charity bug last summer when she made loom bands as part of Bury Leisure Centre’s fundraising attempt for the Accumulator Challenge for St Nicholas Hospice Care, which looked after one of her grandmothers.

Phoebe’s mum, Debbie Hastings, who is a receptionist at the leisure centre, said her daughter had seen Children in Need on television and said ‘I can help those children worse off than me’.

Phoebe added: “I just want to do it to help people like the little children as they don’t have as much as we do.”

Debbie, a mother-of-three, said: “She’s just joined West Suffolk Swimming Club and she saw some children worse off than her and said ‘if they can swim, anybody can do it.’

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“She’s got this mindset anybody can do these things if they want to. It’s an amazing trait. It’s so lovely she feels that way.”

Phoebe’s speech and language disorder affects her understanding of language, for example tenses, her mum explained.

She said her daughter’s disability had held her back in the sense she was always very aware she needed extra support, but added even though she will always need extra help she no longer sees it as a problem.

“And everyone around her just accepts her for who she is,” she said.

Phoebe has really been able to just be herself while swimming, Debbie said, as it is an activity she can enjoy without needing to communicate.

The youngster, who dreams of becoming a hairdresser for disabled children, hopes to complete tomorrow’s challenge without a break and in just two hours.

Friends and family will be coming along to support her, and people are welcome to turn up to cheer her on. The swim will start at 8pm.

Phoebe is already half-way to her fundraising target of £100. People can donate by using the sponsorship form at the leisure centre or visit

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