A TEACHER took on the Great North Swim to raise £750 for a teenage cancer charity in memory of a pupil who died of the illness.

Paul Simpson, a PE teacher and head of year at Ferryhill Business and Enterprise College, finished 23 out of 8,000 competitors at the event on Lake Windermere.

He took 22.15 minutes to complete the one mile course in the Lake District for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

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His swim was in memory of former college student Rhys Wayman who died of cancer in 2012.

The 41-year-old said: “Losing Rhys was very distressing to my whole year group, his close family and friends.

“It has pushed me to do everything in my power to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust in his memory.

“I was very disappointed with this result actually, as I wanted to come in the top ten, however I will not let this dampen my spirits.

“I will just train even harder next year and keep raising money for my charity.”

Mr Simpson trained in the swimming pool up to four times a week and he even took to swimming in a North Yorkshire lake as part of his regime.

Headteacher Kevin Brennan, said: “Paul is very committed and determined to do anything he can to raise support and awareness for the trust.

“He is an amazing head of year and would do anything for the students he mentors. We are very lucky to have teaching staff like Paul.”