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ROUND THE ISLAND SWIMMERS RAISE £1700 FOR AIR AMBULANCE

roundtheislandswimairambulanceteamFour women were celebrating at the weekend after swimming around the Isle of Wight in just over 24 hours, raising more than £1,700 for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

Starting at 19:13 on Saturday near to St Helens, Pauline McCracken (40); Heather Lunt (36); Ann Brimelow (66) and Kate Steels-Fryatt (44) battled strong tides, choppy waters, fatigue, and cold temperatures to power 56 miles in 24 hours, 7 minutes and 45 seconds. The team crossed the finish line back at St Helens on Sunday night at 19:20, after each swimming six hours and a distance just short of an English channel crossing.

roundtheislandswimairambulancemothershipThe team had to overcome a number of logistical challenges in the run-up to the event, including a late change to the team when their original fourth swimmer, Chris Pitman, fell ill and had to undergo heart surgery. They also lost their “mothership” boat and support crew just 24 hours before setting off, and appealed to Sunsail who stepped in to loan a 40-foot yacht from Port Solent in time for the event.

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Pauline McCracken, a director at National Grid who devised the idea said:

“It feels amazing, I can’t believe we’ve done it after 18 months of planning.

“The fifth hour in the water was the toughest thing I have ever done – I came out smiling but very emotional!”

Helen, a lecturer at Portsmouth University added:

“It’s been mammoth organisation but amazing to have done it, finally.

“The night swim down the western Solent was magical – a sky full of stars in one goggle and phosphorescence in the other, I have never done a swim quite like it.”

The team have exceeded their fund-raising target of £1,500 but are still keen to raise more money for the Air Ambulance. To sponsor the ladies go to justgiving.com/ladieswotswim.

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