A MUM-of-three is gearing up her training to try and swim the English Channel in aid of charity this autumn.
Care worker Fleur Hawthorne, 43, from Ruardean Woodside, took up swimming to lose weight for her 40th birthday and shed five stone.
And now she is racking up the miles at the Ross pool and in the Clevedon sea lido over the Severn Bridge to swim across one of the world’s busiest sea lanes this September in a bid to raise £21,000 for charity – matching the 21 miles from Britain to the continent.
Fleur, whose children are Jack, Hannah and Niamh, said: "It’s very difficult to tell yourself after a 14-hour shift to go to the pool every day and grind out several miles until they virtually turn the lights off and throw me out.
“Then it’s home to get on the computer and work on the complex admin side of such a large project, and all the while still trying to be mum and keep everything going.
"Sometimes it feels almost impossible, but I tell myself “just keep swimming”."
Support boats to swim the Channel, which has taken anything between seven and 27 hours to achieve, get booked up to two years in advance, as only a limited number of slots are available at a cost of more than £2,500.
But last New Year’s Day it became a reality when the boat was booked for a cross-
Channel attempt in September.
Fleur is aiming to raise funds for the ’It’s In The Bag’ testicular cancer support charity and the Great Western Air Ambulance.
And this Saturday, May 20, she and her team are organising a free charity fundraiser night at Parkend Working Men’s club as part of the fundraising programme.
"Blues ’n’ BBQ”, is open to all from 7.30pm and will feature music by Sicknote Steve, food by her partner Gavin Wilkinson of BBQ Chefs, a drinks promotions, charity raffle and auction of promises.
To help her, the Ross pool have donated a full year’s membership to train for the epic challenge, and she is also aiming to start swimming in the outdoor Bathurst pool in Lydney.
Brick Hampton Court near Hereford, where she works, have also raised more than £600 through events to help her on her way.
Anyone wishing to support Fleur can follow the ’donate now’ links on her website at www.fleursbigswim.co.uk where they can also follow her progress.