A SALE Moor scouts chairman is trying to make waves and raise money in a bid to try to stay at their current venue.

Christine Gleaves, from 9th Sale Scouts, is undertaking a personal challenge - a sponsored swim throughout July and August in the bays and lakes in Anglesey and Snowdonia...without a wetsuit.

Spurred on by her slogan ‘In it for a minute!’ each dip in the icy temperatures of our waters is lasting between 15 or 20 minutes.

Christine has more than 50 years of experience in scouting and has set up a Gofundme page with a target of £150,000 for her swimming exploits.

The challenge comes as the group are facing having to move out of their HQ in a two-storey building on Budworth Road on land owned by St Annes and St Frances Church.

In July last year church officials told scout leaders about their intention to sell the land and in the last few months the group, with more than 90 members, were told that they had to leave by May next year. Now, Christine and scout bosses are hoping to buy the land outright and stay in their current home.

Speaking from Wales where she has been doing the challenge, the 69-year-old said: “The reaction has been great with lots of parents and former scouts donating to it as they have been with us.

“Out job is to try to keep kids off the streets as we are in one of the poorest areas in Sale Moor.

“It has been hard doing the challenge in water and I have been getting passers-by to give me their details just so I can prove I have done it each day.

“I had one person ask me what I was doing it for and they even gave me £10 for the cause.

“The church did offer us the use of their halls but they are at a stage where they are full most days and it would not be fit for the use that we have with pillars and posts the kids could run into, then there is no storage space for our equipment.

“We also have confidential records of injuries etc which we store away but if we had to move we could not do that.

“The building was great as if we could not afford camps we could have sleep-overs and put the tents out to let the kids get away from their home.

“We think there is covenant on the site that it has to be used for scouting as we had to move to from our last hut.

“I am doing this because we cannot do the traditional fundraising that we would have done before Covid with the kids.

“We appreciate everyone has to raise money (the church) but I think members are sad that a great building is going to have to be knocked down.

So far £2,605 has been raised with 95 donors and the grandmother of six said: “We are hoping through the media and on social media, scouts across the country and our former scouts will donate.

“If everyone donated a pound it would help us.”

A spokesman for the Diocese of Chester said: “The terms of the lease between the St Anne’s PCC and the 9th Sale Scout Group expired in 2005. Since then, St Anne’s PCC has allowed the Scouts to remain in situ on a peppercorn rent of £1 per annum.

“There have been well-intentioned negotiations on both sides going back a number of years, including an offer from St Anne’s PCC to build a separate property for the scouts to rent from the church and hire out to others. This was turned down by the scouts and sadly the two parties have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement.

“In July 2019, the PCC took the difficult decision to sell the land. As their landlord, St Anne’s PCC recognises the implications of its decision to sell the site.

“ It was not a quick or hasty decision and the scouts were immediately informed following the PCC decision.

Unfortunately, St Anne’s PCC has been wrestling for 30 years about how to fund work needed on the church interior.

“The congregation over the years has worked hard to fund urgent work to the roof, temporary lighting and replacement of the East window when the stonework there started crumbling.

“Sadly, it also had to take the decision to sell its curate’s house to fund some of the much needed work to St Anne’s Church.”

You can donate to the cause of Christine Gleave’s fundraiser then sponsor her by donating to: gofundme.com/f/save-9th-sale-scouts