A grieving mum marked the anniversary of her daughter’s death organising a fundraiser at the pool where the pair spent so much time together.

The event marked two years since the tragic passing of Ria Melvin, from Brentwood, who succumbed to a brain tumour in 2021 at just 25 years old.

Ria was a cherished member of the community at Ongar Leisure Centre and frequently joined her mum Carol, a swimming instructor, and her tutees in the pool.

Carol said Ria would show the swimmers how to do tumble turns and dives and that she was “like a mermaid and so graceful in the water”.

Romford Recorder: Ria Swimming Competitively. Ria Swimming Competitively. (Image: Brain Tumour Research)

She added: “Ria’s anniversary was always going to be difficult for us, so I thought a swim challenge would be something positive for me to focus on.”

In 2018, Ria was diagnosed with an incurable Grade 4 glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumour. She underwent rounds of treatment in Germany, ranging from brain surgeries to immunotherapy, all made possible by crowdfunding.

Despite her crushing diagnosis, Ria stayed true to her passionate nature and turned her attention to campaigning and fundraising towards different outcomes for the unrelenting disease.

Ria’s impact on the community was reflected in the turnout at the event held in her honour.

The participants collectively swam an impressive 1,680 lengths of the pool, a total of 26 miles. One member recovering from a hip replacement surgery went on to complete 64 lengths of the 25-metre pool.

Romford Recorder: Swimmers celebrating after doing lengths in memory of Ria.Swimmers celebrating after doing lengths in memory of Ria. (Image: Brain Tumour Research)

Following her death, Ria’s family has set up a fundraising group under charity Brain Tumour Research known as Raising4Ria, which has already accumulated more than £110,000 of donations to help find a positive outcome for sufferers of the indiscriminate disease.

Carol had initially hoped that her fundraiser at the leisure centre would make £500 to go towards research, but was pleasantly surprised by the final total.

She said: “Everyone has been so generous, meaning we have raised more than £5,500, with donations still coming in, to help bring hope to future families facing the devastating news that a loved one has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.”

Romford Recorder: Ria's mum Carol next to her Raising4Ria signRia's mum Carol next to her Raising4Ria sign (Image: Brain Tumour Research)

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are very grateful to all who lend their support to Raising4Ria to remember such an inspirational young woman and congratulate Carol and her fabulous swimmers. Their efforts are helping to make a difference.”

To add your donation, go to www.justgiving.com/page/carol-melvin-1689196781199