Woman set to brave jellyfish and tides in Channel swim

Emma Mortimer Lee is swimming the English Channel for charity
Emma Mortimer Lee is swimming the English Channel for charity

A brave Hellingly woman will be swimming the English Channel without a wetsuit and in potential pitch darkness to make a big splash for charity.

Emma Mortimer Lee, 26, will take part in the 21-mile (minimum, depending on tides) swim to raise funds for COSMIC, which stands for Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care.

She is part of the COSMIC Rays team of four people who will take it in turns swimming for an hour at a time until they reach France.

Because there is a window between August 7-14 for conditions to be right for the relay, the swimmers could be swimming at night and among jellyfish in the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Emma only started outdoor swimming last year so this is a big challenge for her. She said: “I’m so excited and nervous, I’ve never done anything quite as hard as this.

“I’ve been doing lots of training – five swimming sessions a week. The team is a mix of ages and occupations, none of us have done anything like this – it’s a real challenge.”

But, besides the cold, the huge ships, and test of endurance, the most daunting prospect for Emma – who works for a contract catering company – is coming face to face with sea critters. She said: “Jellyfish are the one thing I’m quite scared about, apparently they are huge.”

The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital, London, is an internationally renowned centre for treating children with life-threatening conditions. Every year the unit admits around 400 critically ill children and many lives are saved.

The unit was founded 25 years ago by Dr Parviz Habibi and is now – thanks to fundraising from people like Emma – being expanded to accommodate 15 beds.

Dr Habibi said, “Please help us achieve our target of £12,000 per team, which will go towards supporting families of critically ill children in the unit. Children are our future! Help us save more lives!”

Emma is organising a number of fundraising events before embarking on this challenge. A bridge afternoon will take place in Hellingly Village Hall on Sunday, July 23, from 1.30pm. For more information, or to book a table, contact Emma’s mother, Veronica Lee, on 01323 840499.

To contribute to her fundraising page, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Emma-Lee26