Sponsor Emma

I started outdoor swimming in 2009 when I was asked by a work colleague to form part of a Channel relay swim team to support the Forces Children’s Trust charity who were planning on having one team run from London to Dover, another to swim the Channel and then another to cycle to Germany. I have always been a keen swimmer, but I had never been in open water before. However, after a couple of glasses of wine I agreed!  I remember turning up at the lake petrified, however everyone there was lovely and supportive, and I was hooked from then on.  I completed the relay swim later that year and loved it and since then I have continued to swim outdoors; it’s my happy place and I have made so many lovely friends over the years.

Emma sitting on the beach

I am swimming the Channel in August with the Aspire Mutts team.  Three of us - Simon, Paula and I - have been swimming together for many years.  We all met through work and discovered our passion for outdoor swimming, and it’s developed from there. 

In 2014 Paula asked me to swim the Solent with her for Aspire, and how could I say no?!  Swimming the Solent was great, and we have all completed a few 10k swims over the years and just love swimming. The three of us have become good friends and have been away on several trips, including swimming the Dart 10k and a 10k in the Cotswolds.  Simon has been a great support to Paula through the years and regularly carries her in and out of the sea and lakes, which as a wheelchair user she is often unable to do by herself.

Simon and Paula in the water

We are taking on a Relay Channel Swim for Aspire because Paula sustained a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident 20 years ago and since then she has benefited from the great work Aspire does. This swim is clearly a challenge for anyone, let alone a wheelchair user.

Our swim was scheduled for 16th August but was delayed until October. I am looking forward to it so much, I can’t wait.  I have so far raised over £2,300.  It means a massive amount to me to be raising money for people with Spinal Cord Injury; seeing how Paula has been supported by Aspire and managed to return to her full time career as a police officer was amazing.  I have been truly inspired by Paula; her attitude to her disability and getting on with life to the full is humbling.

The Mutts relay Channel swim team

Sponsor Emma

Paula Craig MBE to become the first person with a complete Spinal Cord injury to swim the English Channel without a wetsuit

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