Anna inspires others in new cross-Solent charity swim appeal

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NOT content with swimming around five islands for charity, Anna Wardley is looking for people to follow in her wake and swim across the Solent.

The endurance athlete wants 24 people to sign up for the two-and-a-half nautical mile test of commitment in August this year.

FRESH CHALLENGE Swimming hero Anna Wardley launches the Solent Swim Challenge in aid of the Ellen MacArthur Trust at Stokes Bay with, from left, Sam Cassell, Abby Thomson, John Gillard, Clare Ryan, Andrew McCall, Michelle Navary, and Vicky Gillard.Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14647-3)

FRESH CHALLENGE Swimming hero Anna Wardley launches the Solent Swim Challenge in aid of the Ellen MacArthur Trust at Stokes Bay with, from left, Sam Cassell, Abby Thomson, John Gillard, Clare Ryan, Andrew McCall, Michelle Navary, and Vicky Gillard.Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14647-3)

Anna, of Alverstoke, Gosport, raised £58,000 for charity when she swam around five islands, including the Isle of Wight. She has teamed up with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust for the challenge, which was launched yesterday.

The 38-year-old said: ‘We’re looking for 24 people to sign up. It’s going to be a really exciting event.

‘People do need to have a little bit of open water swimming experience, but we’re going to be giving them training days, lots of advice and expert help to get them ready.

‘We want people who are enthusiastic about doing it, that are willing to put in the training and do at least some of the training in open water.’

One person has already signed up for the swim, which is equivalent to 160 lengths of a 25m swimming pool.

Anyone taking part will have to train on their own but will get advice from Anna and her team.

The day before the swim on August 17 the chosen few will have an assessment at Stokes Bay in Gosport.

And Anna is keen to encourage people to take part in the swim, which will be from Stokes Bay to Ryde, Isle of Wight.

She added: ‘I’ve taken on a lot of very big swimming challenges and I’ve got a huge amount out of it.

‘I’ve got an extremely experienced support team so it means people can do it safely and raise money for charity.’

Swimmers need to raise £700 in sponsorship to take part, with £200 payable on registration.

Clare Ryan, events and community fundraiser at Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, added: ‘We were amazed by Anna’s Five-Island Swim Challenge and just thought what she was doing was incredible – and she raised quite a considerable amount of money.

‘The Solent Swim is something that we’ve always wanted to do – we just needed to find the right partner, and Anna is exactly that partner.’

As reported, Anna raised £58,000 by swimming around the five islands.

To sign up email clare.ryan@emcancertrust.org or call (01983) 297750.