Peak District boy's swimming challenge raises £1,000 for Ukraine aid effort

A five-year-old boy from Crowdecote has raised around £1,000 to help people affected by the war in Ukraine after swimming his first ever length of a pool without armbands.

By Ed Dingwall
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 9:31 am

Nikolai Klucinskis, a pupil at St Bartholomew’s Primary School in Longnor, threw everything he had into the challenge after talking to his parents about the suffering caused by the conflict.

Mum Hannah Klucinska, who runs local pub the Packhorse Inn, said: “We were watching the news one day and Nikolai started asking questions. We couldn’t hide it from him so we tried to explain what was happening without too many details.

“He doesn’t know what’s going on in the world but he’s very kind and always wants to help. The first thing he wanted to do was build a house for refugees in the pub car park, but it got us talking about things he could do instead. He really loves gardening so he started potting up flowers to sell outside the pub to friends and family.”

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Fundraising star Nikolai Klucinskis.

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She added: “He’s also just started swimming lessons again for the first time since Covid so we suggested he could get sponsored to do a length without any help. He’d been making slow progress so it was a big challenge, but when we set up the fundraising page and a jar in the pub we never thought it would raise this much.

“It made him really determined and he stated going to extra classes and doing lots of practice. Every time he went swimming he’d say, ‘It’s for the Ukraine’.”

Nikolai eventually completed the feat while on a family holiday in Turkey over the May half-term, which gave him plenty of time for extra training.

Hannah said: “It was only a small pool but he was practicing all week. He started out doggy paddling, saying he’d never manage it, but by the end he was up and down doing proper breaststroke.

“He felt very proud when he did it, and a bit overwhelmed when we told him how much he’d raised and all the things it would buy for people. I feel very proud too, for someone so young to be so caring, he’s done super well – and this week he swam a whole 30-metre length of Hathersage pool.”

To add to Nikolai’s fundraising total, go to

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