Gosport swimmer to take on five-island challenge

TRAINING Endurance swimmer Anna Wardley and Lance Corporal Chris Herbert who joined Anna in the water with his kayak.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121193-8170)
TRAINING Endurance swimmer Anna Wardley and Lance Corporal Chris Herbert who joined Anna in the water with his kayak. Picture: Sarah Standing (121193-8170)
Haverhill's Family Christmas Night (as pictured from last year) takes place on Friday, December 1. Picture by Andy Mayes.

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SUPER swimmer Anna Wardley has taken on dozens of gruelling challenges – but her next one could be the toughest yet.

The 36-year-old has her heart set on completing a five-island swim challenge this year.

She will attempt to swim 13 miles around Portsea Island – dodging Portsmouth’s ferries, yachts and warships on the way.

But the challenge will not end there, with Anna also swimming around a islands in Spain, Jersey, the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Tiree in Scotland.

She hopes to become the first person to complete the 30 miles of freezing temperatures around Tiree to set a world record.

Anna, who has already conquered the English Channel, said: ‘I’m looking forward to it.

‘For me, it’s not just about the swimming but also the whole process of getting there.

‘We have such good fun organising everything beforehand.

‘It’s going to be hard and there are going to be parts that are soul-destroying.

‘But I want to show people that anything is possible.’

As part of her island swimming challenge, Anna will raise money for Gosport-based sailing charity Toe in the Water, the Samaritans and Sail Africa.

She hopes to raise £50,000 as part of her Turning the Tide campaign.

Chris Herbert, 24, lost his right leg while serving in Iraq in 2007 and has been involved with Toe in the Water ever since.

He was at Stokes Bay in Gosport yesterday to see Anna practising for her challenge.

Chris, from Portsmouth, said: ‘I think she’s mad. She’s a lot braver than me because what she does is really difficult.

‘It’s great she is raising money for charity at the same time and three of them are very worthy charities.

‘Toe in the Water has been a huge help for me.

‘After losing my leg they showed me what I could do rather than what I couldn’t.’

Anna, from Gosport, has set out a tough training programme to see her through to the challenge, which starts in May.

She regularly swims in the sea off Stokes Bay to keep her body acclimatised to the cold.

To make a donation visit annawardley.com.