Woman from Southwold set to embark on Channel swim challenge

 Clarissa Bruce, who will be swimming from Dover to France for charity

Clarissa Bruce, who will be swimming from Dover to France for charity - Credit: Archant

When Reydon photographer Clarissa Bruce rented out a Southwold beach hut in the winter, people wondered what she was up to.

Pictures: Submitted

Pictures: Submitted - Credit: Archant

And when she began swimming in all weathers and all seasons, they really started to talk.

But it will all pay off for Ms Bruce on Tuesday, as she completes a charity relay swim across the English Channel.

She will be taking on the challenge with four team members, who will swim for an hour each until they make the 28-mile trip to France.

Followed by an escort boat, tides, shipping routes and weather means they will not be able to do a direct crossing, and the final route could be even more than 28 miles.

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Ms Bruce, 52 said: 'I've been swimming in Southwold all year for two years to get cold water acclimatisation and practice with tides, it's an excellent place to train - it has been fantastic.

'A lot of the swimming is actually mental, it's in your head, you just need the mental strength to deal with it.

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'You're very isolated and it can be quite lonely.'

But keeping the team going during the gruelling swim will be the thought of their two charities - Hope and Aid Direct and Overcome.

Hope and Aid Direct was set up by Charles Storer, whose family own the beach hut Ms Bruce has been training from.

It delivers humanitarian aid directly to people in need in the Balkans, with twice yearly convoys.

Overcome supports people with ovarian cancer, and was chosen after Ms Bruce's swimming partner lost her sister to the disease at just 23 years old.

'Both charities mean a lot to me,' she said. 'I'm feeling very excited, I'm nervous because it's going to be a tough swim, but I'm with a great team, and I think that's very important so I'm hoping it's going to be enjoyable. But I do know it's going to be hard.'

She will take on the challenge on Tuesday, July 21 with Caroline Sims, Louise Stratford. Sarah Gatland and Leon Fryer, having already raised £2,000 as a team to split between the two charities.

To follow the team on their challenge, visit cspf.co.uk/tracking on Tuesday, and look for Louise Jane, their escort boat.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/SouthwoldJacks

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