Young Ellie to take Valentine’s Day Dip in North Sea in great-grandmother’s memory

Ellie Kirk, pictured with sister Lucy, will be swimming in memory of her great-grandmother. Picture

Ellie Kirk, pictured with sister Lucy, will be swimming in memory of her great-grandmother. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A courageous young Suffolk girl has overcome illness to brave the cold North Sea in aid of the charity that cared for her beloved great-grandmother.

Ellie pictured with her great-grandmother Ellen Ward. Picture: FAMILY

Ellie pictured with her great-grandmother Ellen Ward. Picture: FAMILY - Credit: Archant

When Ellie Kirk, 10, became ill in December, her concern was not for her own welfare but the St Elizabeth Hospice’s Christmas Day Dip.

Ellie from Westerfield near Ipswich, had signed for her first swim to raise money for the charity after it cared for her “Grammi” Ellen Ward before her death in 2014.

But after being diagnosed with HSP, a rare blood condition causing joint pain, she was told by doctors not to take part.

Her mother, Cath Bright said: “Ellie came home from school in early December with a slight sore ankle, and five days later she couldn’t stand or walk. She was crying with pain and had swollen ankles and knees.


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“Our GP was brilliant and sent us straight to the hospital for tests. We had a very tough 24 hours when we were waiting for results.

“When we were in the hospital, and Ellie needed a wheelchair, her first thought was how would she do the Christmas Day Dip.

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“I’m so proud of her that she still wants to do it and raise money for the hospice so they can help others like us.”

Having now been given the all clear, Ellie has rearranged to do dip during half term this week.

Cath Bright, pictured with her daughters Lucy and Ellie, said she is very proud. Picture: SARAH LUC

Cath Bright, pictured with her daughters Lucy and Ellie, said she is very proud. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Her mum has also arranged for some regular sea swimmers to join her so she’s not alone.

“Ellie’s a little bit sad about having to rearrange her dip,” Ms Bright said.

“It was a great atmosphere at the dip on Christmas Day and she was really excited to be doing it with a big crowd of people.

“Obviously there won’t be so many people on the beach in February but it would be lovely if a few people were able to come along and cheer her on.”

Ellie Kirk braving the cold. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ellie Kirk braving the cold. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The Valentine’s Day Dip is at 11am on Wednesday near to Manning’s Amusements in Felixstowe where the original Christmas Day Dip takes place each year. Ellie will run in to the cold sea, submerge herself up to her shoulders before running out again to her waiting family – and hospice mascot Woolly the Sheep

St Elizabeth Hospice events and challenges fundraiser Catherine Sheppard said: “We’re so pleased to hear that Ellie is much better now and we’re honoured that she still wants to do the dip and raise money for us.”

“The hospice will be present at the dip and we’ll be taking along the charity’s mascot Woolly the sheep who will award her with her Christmas Day Dip medal when she’s completed her challenge.”

To sponsor Ellie visit her Justgiving page.

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