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A social worker is challenging herself to swim the English Channel solo to raise vital funds for Ashgate Hospice in memory of her grandmother and family friend.
Bethany Murphy is hoping to swim 21-miles from Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France in less than 20 hours this September.
The 25-year-old wanted to support the North Derbyshire charity after her grandmother, Janet Marriott, and friend, Stephanie Boyman, received care at home at the end of their lives.
Bethany, who lives in Rotherham, plans to brave the challenge wearing just a standard swim costume, swim hat and goggles.
She said: “I am feeling very nervous, excited and overwhelmed to have the opportunity to complete such an enormous challenge!
“I wanted to do this for Ashgate Hospice because the care my grandma and friend Stephanie received was so compassionate and supportive. They are a special kind of people that work for the hospice.”
During her feat, which Bethany plans to complete between the 18th and 24th September depending on weather conditions, she will be joined alongside a boat, pilot and crew, which she has funded herself.
She will start the challenge in the early hours of the morning and swim for two hours before taking her first feed from the boat.
Feeds will be in a bottle attached to a rope and thrown to Bethany in the water – she will be disqualified if she touches the boat before reaching France.
It is hoped she will be able to raise £1,000 towards the vital end of life care Ashgate Hospice provides at its Inpatient Unit and across the community.
Bethany, who has conquered other fundraising challenges like a 12-hour walk and virtual half marathon for Ashgate, added: “I may be swimming alone but I definitely don’t feel alone. The support from family and friends during the training, over the phone and in person has been incredible.
“I have lots of friends who have swam with me, such as my swim buddy, Dawn Evitt, who has been helping me train over the last two years for this challenge.
“I also cannot forget my channel relay team, Jane Heggie and Sarah Farrar, who have both been very supportive in my challenge.”
Bethany will be swimming in memory of her grandmother, Janet, from Creswell, who died aged just 66, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
She was cared for by the hospice’s Palliative Care Specialist Nurses before she died with her family by her side in January 2015.
Her friend, Stephanie Boyman, from Staveley, was also cared for by the community nursing team, after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2020. She died in November last year, aged 53.
Bethany said: “I’m so grateful to Ashgate Hospice for the support both my grandma and Stephanie received.
“I always knew about the care they offered but seeing first-hand what support they provide to people’s loved ones, who often need that little extra support, made me appreciate Ashgate’s services even more.”
Ashgate Hospice relies on people like Bethany so it can fund the £8 million needed to cover the cost of its vital end of life care.
Jack Wood, Head of Fundraising at the charity, said: “We’ve all been blown away hearing about Bethany’s plans to take on a solo swim across the English Channel.
“Not only is she doing something amazing in memory of Janet and Stephanie but her efforts will help us continue to provide vital to care to so many families across the county.
“I’d like to wish her the best of luck for her training over the next couple of months and we’re looking forward to cheering Bethany on in September!”
You can support Bethany by sponsoring her solo English Channel challenge on JustGiving.