Brave Nellie (5) is set for a marathon swim

Brave Nellie is preparing for a marathon swim. EMN-180416-095605001
Brave Nellie is preparing for a marathon swim. EMN-180416-095605001

According to her mum Vicki, Nellie Ball had a rocky start to life.

She was born at 30 weeks 
and weighed only 2lb 8oz.

She spent five weeks in hospital before being allowed home.

In the next 14 months, she was hospitalised twice more, for a week at a time .

Happily, Nellie - who is now five - hasn’t looked back.

Vicki explains: “She’s still tiny but it really doesn’t stop her at all.

“She has boundless energy and is up for trying anything.

“She loves swimming and she also does gymnastics for five hours a week for a squad in Lincoln.

“She will often ask to go for a run and think nothing of doing 1.5 miles... that and constantly cart-wheeling 
and doing chin ups.

“She just loves anything energetic really. Anything that looks hard or she’s not old enough or big enough for, she’s at the front of the queue trying to prove you wrong!”

And tackling a challenge is exactly what Nellie will be doing later this month.

On April 29, Nellie will be attempting to swim 100 lengths at Horncastle’s Indoor Pool.

It’s the equivalent of 2.5kms 
or 1.5 miles.

Nellie is no stranger to long distance swims.

Twelve months ago, she swam 64 lengths in the same pool.

Then, she was joined by her sisters and together they raised funds to improve the library at Kirkby on Bain Primary School.

Now, Nellie is determined to raise more money to help finish the project.

Two of her sisters are swimming, one has chosen not to.

While Nellie attempts 100 lengths, her two sisters are swimming the same as last year.

Vicki added: “Her sisters were very proud of Nellie doing the 64 lengths last year but haven’t said much about 100 this year as it’s just normal, I suppose.

“Nellie doesn’t think she’s doing anything special or out of the ordinary.

“She believes everyone just does what they can. If someone told her they swam 5m, she’d be genuinely proud of them and rarely mentions her achievements unless directly asked.

“She is self motivated. She just decided she wanted to see if she could swim 100 lengths.

“I recall her saying not long after doing the 64 she would do the 100 then she said properly at the end of last year that she WAS doing 100 lengths!

“She has said she’s going to do a few lengths of butterfly this time because it’s her favourite stroke, just to make her life harder!”

Vicki says the staff at the Horncastle pool have been ‘fab’.

She explained: “She learned to swim when she was three-and-a-half.

“ We used to just go to the fun splash sessions on a Thursday and one day she swam a width, the next week a length, then a couple of weeks later two lengths. She just 
went from there.

• Anyone wanting to donate to Nellie’s swim should visiting the following Crowd Funding page -