Robert takes a plunge for lifelong pal Neil

Neil Camm and wife Celese who want to adopt with Neil's best friend Robert Winder
Neil Camm and wife Celese who want to adopt with Neil's best friend Robert Winder

A caring dad will be taking part in a tough challenge to help his childhood pal’s bid to adopt.

Robert Winder will be taking part in the Great North Swim to raise funs towards best friend Neil Camm’s adoption costs.

The pair met on their first day of primary school at St William’s in Pilling.

Robert and Neil forged a close friendship that has continued over the decades, despite Neil moving to America seven years ago.

When he married Celeste, Robert even flew over to be the best man at their wedding in Tallehase, Florida.

However, Robert, who is married to Polly and has a two-year-old daughter Poppy, has discovered that his old school pal and his wife are unable to have children and after seven years of procedures and disappointments, they have now started the process of adoption through America Adoptions.

But in America, adoption is expensive and Neil and Celeste’s projected adoption costs are around $38,000, or £24,400.

Robert said: “Neil and I met on our first day of primary school and he was the first friend I made and we just hit it off straight away. He lived down the road from me and I lived on a farm at the time and he always wanted to come to my house as he thought being on a farm was exciting.”

The pals went on to Bentham Grammar School, near Lancaster, together and remained friends and stayed in touch even when Neil moved thousands of miles away to America. Robert and Polly went to spend time with Neil and Celeste last year and Neil admitted to them that he and Celeste had tried IVF treatment a number of time but it had failed to work and they desperately wanted a child.

Robert said: “It was just such a shame to hear what a hard time Neil and Celeste had and I felt they truly deserved to be parents.

“Polly and I talked about it and really wanted to do something to help.”

Robert, who has taken part in many running and swimming events as well as triathlons for different causes, decided to take part in the Great North Swim to raise funds towards Neil and Celeste’s adoption costs.

Robert said: “I have done a lot of things for charity but this will be different as it is a lot closer to my heart and I will be able to see an end result.”

Speaking from America, Neil said: “I was very happy and touched when I found out what Rob was doing. It means a lot that he would think of us and we are both so appreciative. Rob has been a great friend since

“I was four years old, and I’ve always been able to count on him, even now.”

“The adoption process in America is extensive and very pricey. The process can take years and can cost upwards of $40,000.”

The Great North Swim will take place in Windermere from Friday to Sunday.