Swimmer Andrea’s Channel challenge

AN ILKESTON swimmer is embarking on a gruelling charity swim across the English Channel – without leaving town.

Rather than plunging into the freezing cold sea, Andrea Varley is covering the 21 miles from Dover to Calais in the warmth of the newly re-opened Victoria Park Leisure Centre swimming pool.

Over four-and-a-half weeks, she will complete 21 lots of 64 lengths – the equivalent distance across the Strait of Dover – to raise cash for Nottingham University Hospitals cancer ward, where doctors are heklping to treat a friend with breast cancer.

Andrea, who is chair of governors at Charlotte Street Infants School, said: “They do such important work there.

“My friend is only 43 and has been having treatment for two years and it’s thanks to them that she’s recovering.

“I found a lump once, it turned out to be nothing but you just never know if you might one day need their help too.”

Andrea, who regularly swims three miles a week to help with back problems, has performed the feat a number of times over seven weeks for charities, including spinal injury charity Aspire.

But this time she is trying to do it in a much shorter time frame.

“Because I’ve done it so many times now, it isn’t really hard work,” she said,

“So that’s why this time I’ve decided to challenge myself.”

She has so far raised £300 but to add to her total, visit www.justgiving.com/Andrea-Varley0