A TEENAGER who braved a swim in open water in support of brain-tumour blogger Anna Swabey will be recognised at Westminster.

Jake Mendelsohn, of Newton Aycliffe, was only 13 when he embarked on the Great North Swim in Windermere to raise £500 for the Brain Tumour Research Campaign.

The Sedgefield Water Polo Club player decided to take on the half-mile challenge following the devastating terminal diagnosis of family-friend Miss Swabey, who died last September.

Loading article content

Now, thanks to a nomination by Miss Swabey’s mother, Linda, and sister, Victoria Cartwright, Jake will receive a British Citizen Youth Award.

His mother, Ally Mendelsohn, said: “He was very surprised as he didn’t know he had been nominated. He’s very proud and excited to go to the presentation.

“Jake wants to do more for the brain tumour research because it’s so under-funded. It affects a lot of people so anything to raise the profile of it is great.”

Inspired by Miss Swabey’s determination to help others in the face of adversity - by launching a campaign to promote awareness of the disease and raise £100,000 for research - the youngster completed the swim in June last year, in about 15 minutes.

Mrs Mendelsohn added: “He had never done any open swimming before so had practised in lakes beforehand. As a water polo player he’s a strong swimmer, but it was a completely different challenge. He really enjoyed it and wants to do it next year.”

Jake, who hopes for a career in water polo, was also spurred on to do charitable work after as an eight-year-old he accompanied grandfather Peter Beattie to collect his MBE from Westminster, London.

The 14-year-old will be handed his medal by dance group Diversity’s Ashley Banjo at a ceremony there on Thursday, October 19.

Last year, 20 inspirational young people were named British Youth Citizens.

Miss Swabey attracted national attention following her diagnosis at the age of 23 with a blog called Inside My Head and a fund she started has raised almost £120,000.