Sharon’s 22 mile swimming challenge in support of paralysis charity

A local woman has taken on a national challenge to swim the length of the English Channel to raise money for charity.
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Sharon Spencer, 59, Customer Service Advisor at Berkhamstead Leisure Centre, took on the challenge at the leisure centre’s pool to raise funds for the charity Aspire, which supports people with Spinal Cord Injury.

The aim was to swim the 22 miles of the Channel in 12 weeks, which is around 118 lengths per week of a 25m pool.

Sharon, from Northchurch, embarked on the challenge in September with a strong sense of purpose and a desire to make a difference. She said: "I wanted to take on a charity challenge before my 60th birthday, and I'm thrilled that I've accomplished it!"

Sharon SpencerSharon Spencer
Sharon Spencer

Turning 60 on November 28, Sharon already enjoys casual swimming, walking and spinning and was keen to incorporate physical activity into her challenge.

She said: “Every four hours someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury and there is currently no cure. It was great knowing that I was helping such a worthwhile cause.

Sharon set an initial fundraising target of £200 and exceeded her goal, raising £300.

She started the challenge by swimming her first mile in the sea in Croatia before completing the remainder of the challenge at Berhamstead Leisure Centre where she where she has received unwavering support from friends, customers and colleagues.

James Tovey, General Manager of Berkhamstead Sports Centre, said: "We are immensely proud of Sharon and her ability to turn a personal challenge into a force for positive change. She really does epitomise our core values of promoting an active and healthy lifestyle and giving back to the community.”

Aspire works to ensure that from the moment someone sustains a spinal injury, they have the support, advice and services they need to live independently.

Everyone Active manages Berkhamstead Leisure Centre, Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre and Jarman Park Athletics Track in partnership with Dacorum Borough Council.