A BOY who turned his attempt at achieving a long distance swimming badge into a charity fundraiser is celebrating after smashing both targets.

When Jacob Hutchinson decided to try and swim a mile he wanted to make the day extra special by using it to raise money for charity.

And when talking about what cause to support, the eight-year-old turned to best friend Finley Edgar for inspiration.

Finley, a classmate at Middlestone Moor Primary School, had heart problems as a baby and the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle saved his life.

Jacob set himself a target of raising £500 for the Freeman's Children's Heart Unit Fund and launched a fundraising campaign.

Last week he dived into the pool at Sandhill Sports Centre, in Sunderland, where he has lessons with Aquacktic Swim School, to face the challenge.

After completing 64 lengths of the pool, which took him to his one mile target, he had enough energy and enthusiasm to keep going until he had covered 80 lengths– an amazing 2,000m.

Parents Jason Hutchinson and Helen Pennington, and brother Caleb, three, were poolside to support him and were over the moon with his achievement. And instructor Mr Coulson was delighted to present a 2,000m certificate to Jacob, now his longest distance young swimmer.

Miss Pennington, of Middlestone Moor, near Spennymoor, said: "He's been swimming since he was three and worked hard at it, he's such an inspirational boy.

"Whatever he sets his mind to, he can do.

"It was him who wanted to use the swim to support a charity and Finley's family were pleased and proud about his choice.

"On the day, Jacob was so excited once he hit the mile mark he just wanted to keep going."

Jacob originally set a £500 sponsorship target and now he has raised about £700 he hopes to get to £1,000.

Miss Hutchinson added: "CHUF sent some information so he can see how useful the money will be, I think it started to sink in how much good he had done when he could imagine how the money he raised will help babies and families like Finley's.

"He's asked if we are proud of him and I say 'not just proud, I'm bursting'."

Jacob can be sponsored online at gofundme.com/jacob039s-1-mile-swim