A woman is swimming the width of the English Channel in a paddling pool in her back garden.

Harlow resident and local Salvation Army Major, Karen Sandford, has taken on the 21-mile challenge to raise essential funds to ensure the Salvation Army can continue its work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Before lockdown, Karen was a regular cold-water swimmer at Redricks Lake.

However, like many during the early days of lockdown Karen was forced to give up swimming in public places.

When her husband was diagnosed with coronavirus in early March, coupled with the sad passing away of members of her congregation from the virus, Karen decided she wanted to do more to help.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Karen set up a small blow-up swimming pool in the garden with a water temperature of just 11 degrees and started swimming while attached to the washing line by a tether.

Starting with an initial target of 10km, Karen has since increased this and pledged to swim 21 miles, the width of the Strait of Dover, with the aim of raising £500 for charity.

Along the way, Karen has also been completing ‘mini challenges’, such as swimming for 52 minutes on her 52nd birthday, and 32 minutes on her and husband Chris’ wedding anniversary.

Karen will continue to swim in her freezing cold paddling pool until she has completed her 21-mile challenge.

The Salvation Amy has seen a halt to the majority of its funding from local charity shops and the hire of the hall spaces for local events – all of course which has had to stop during Covid-19.

To help Karen reach or even exceed her funding goal, please visit her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/harlow-corps-the-salvation-army1?.

To find out more about Karen’s daily experience, you can also read her blog which she started in order to share her experience with others: https://karensandford.blogspot.com/

Epping Forest Guardian:

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