AN accountant is riding on the crest of a wave after completing a challenging open water swim – even though an accident meant he couldn’t start training until a few weeks before the event.

Steven Greenwood, 53, a partner at Cassons business advisers LLP in Haslingden, decided to take part in the Great North Swim after being set a challenge by his son and daughter on Christmas Day.

But a skiing accident put paid to his training programme, leaving him just weeks to get fit in time to take part in the event at Windermere.

Steven said: “My son Adam is involved with organising the Great North Swim and suggested I take part.

“Initially I thought ‘no way’, but my daughter Sarah had signed up, so she cajoled me into it. And when my nephew David decided to take part as well it became a real family affair.

“We decided to raise funds for Pendleside Hospice because of the fantastic support they give to the local community. We wanted to help support them to continue what they do.

“Unfortunately I cracked two ribs during a skiing trip in January, which meant I was out of action for two months, so getting fit in time for the race was a real challenge.”

With just 10 weeks to prepare for the event, Steven took to the pool at Crow Wood Leisure in Burnley, a client of Cassons.

He said: “I could only swim 20 lengths the first time I got into the pool and I knew I needed to be able to do 60 to be fit enough to complete the challenge.”

Gradually building up his stamina, Steven was able to achieve his 60-length goal with just a week to go.

But he then faced another obstacle – completing his training in open water.

A couple of practice sessions at Salford Quays in the week leading up to the swim proved tough but gave Steven the confidence to take to the water at Windermere.

And despite fearing he’d struggle to finish the mile-long swim, Steven completed the course in just 57 minutes, helping to raise over £1,800 for the hospice.

He said: “I was really surprised, I honestly didn’t expect to complete the course in under an hour.”

As for doing it all again, Steven admits he’d be tempted, adding: “The swim has been a great way to build up strength and stamina and it’d be great to maintain that fitness – I just need to find the right goal.”

To donate, visit Steven’s JustGiving page at