Sarah’s Thames swim to honour pal who died

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KEEN swimmer Sarah Cooper is preparing to take the plunge into the River Thames in memory of one of her best friends.

Sarah will swim a mile of the river to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust after close pal Rachel Banks lost her battle with the disease in 2008.

Rachel, a student at the University of Portsmouth, was 24 when she died.

Now, 25-year-old Sarah, of Moorland Road in Fratton, said she feels it’s the perfect way to remember Rachel, who was also a keen swimmer.

‘She loved to swim. She was a really good swimmer but she had to stop when her illness got bad,’ she said.

‘She would probably want to do it with me to be honest. She would probably suggest we did the whole thing.

‘Rachel was crazy and probably one of the more energetic people I met at uni, which was strange considering her condition.

‘She did have her low days but even then she would never get angry about it. She just accepted it for what it was.’

Sarah hopes that she can give the Cystic Fibrosis Trust a boost through her swimming.

‘I thought it would be a really good way of raising money for the charity,’ she said.

‘The charity does a lot of work not only with medics and getting equipment for hospitals but with promoting organ donations, which is one of the key things about this kind of disease. Because there’s no cure, the need for organ donations is so high.’

Sarah is hoping her challenge will be the first of many to raise money for the charity.

‘It’s a stepping stone towards my goal of swimming to the Isle of Wight,’ she added. ‘I’m trying not to think about the temperature of the water. I know that’s going to be a problem.

‘But I am hoping that because you can see when you are finishing, that I will keep a good speed and not feel the cold after the initial shock.

‘Doing a mile in a swimming pool is completely different to doing a mile in the Thames, but I am looking forward to it.’

The swim will take place on Saturday, May 26 at Victoria Docks near Canary Wharf.

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