Mother and son dive in for 22-mile swim for charity

NO ARMBANDS NEEDED: Kelly Bennett with son Jack, who will be swimming 22 miles between them.
NO ARMBANDS NEEDED: Kelly Bennett with son Jack, who will be swimming 22 miles between them.

When Kelly Bennett found out her son had diabetes, she never imagined that one day he would be joining her to complete a 22-mile swim.

But over the course of 12 weeks, that is exactly what the mother and son duo from Great Waldingfield will be doing.

“I was told when he was six years old that he had type one diabetes and, in that second, our lives changed,” said Kelly, who lives with Jack, 13, in Kenyon Drive.

“He had been complaining about walking into Sudbury and having aching legs, but I just thought it was normal that a boy that age did not want to walk anywhere.”

The life-long condition means that Jack, who goes to Thomas Gainsborough School, is insulin dependant. He can feel tired, suffer weight loss and get very thirsty.

Kelly admits that it took the pair a while to become accustomed to living with diabetes, with even trips to the park having to be planned carefully.

“The worst thing was he hated the needles,” said the 39-year-old. “I used to have to hold him down to inject him.”

A children’s holiday scheme run through Diabetes UK helped put an end to these struggles and Kelly wants to thank the charity by taking part in Swim22.

Starting next Saturday, she and Jack will begin a challenge that will see them swim the equivalent of the English Channel.

“I have wanted to help Diabetes UK for ages, so I signed up for the swim and told Jack,” said Kelly.

“He said he wanted to do it too, so we will be sharing it between us.

“I used to be a keen swimmer, but I think the first few weeks I will be in for a shock. Jack is pretty good.”

To stay on track to finish on May 17, the pair must swim an average of 102 lengths of the pool at the Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury.

The size of the task facing them is not lost on Kelly.

“It is going to be difficult, not least because Jack will have to fit swimming in around school work,” she said.

“But the holidays that he has been on with the charity have helped him so much.

“Every holiday, he has learned a new skill and his personality and confidence has grown.

“I really do not think we would be where we are today without them.”

Kelly said she hopes to raise around £500. To sponsor her, go to