A TALENTED young swimmer took the biggest plunge of her life to raise money in memory of her sister who died eight years ago.

Niamh Robinson, 13, a member of the Pioneer 79 Amateur Swimming Club, based at Hyndburn Sports Centre, took part in the open water ‘Mencap Mile 2012’ at top Olympic venue Dorney Lake, Windsor, yesterday.

The teenager is classed as one of the best young swimmers in the country after getting to the finals of the prestigious ASA National Swimming Champion-ships, in Sheffield, in July.

Niamh said although she was initially nervous about the event, she agreed to take part after her swimming partner Olivia Nicholls, 11, from Accrington, decided to sign up with her.

Niamh also thought it was a fitting fundraiser as her sister, Phoebe, who died in March 2004, aged six, from sudden death syndrome, suff-ered from Asperger’s Syndrome.

She said: “My sponsors TP Prop-erties emailed me about swimming the Mencap Mile. After talking to a few different people about it, and with one of my close friends agreeing to take part too, I decided to enter.

“I may be confident at swimming lap after lap in the comfort of a warm swimming pool, but for me to do the same in open water, it’s a totally different ball game. I would like to raise as much money as possible for this worthy charity to help other families like ours who may face difficulties with children who are diagnosed with Asperger’s, or similar conditions.”

Her mum, Sue Brown, said: “Niamh wanted to do something not only in memory of her sister, but for her sponsors too.

“It was a fitting event, with her sister having had Asperger’s Syndrome and her sponsors TP Properties developing, and man-aging, projects for people with learning disabilities.”

To donate visit www.virginmoney giving.com/NiamhRobinson