Archdeacon "Swims the Channel"

by Michael Ford last modified 25 Sep, 2019 12:13 PM

After undergoing a hip replacement early this year, the Archdeacon of Wilts is now undertaking a massive swimming challenge to help gain independence for people paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury.

Archdeacon Sue Groom is on track to "swim" the English Channel three times in a series of shorter swimming sessions in the sea and at her local pool.

Archdeacon Sue’s personal history of chronic pain caused by CDH (Congenital Dislocation of the Hip) and a whole raft of operations to deal with that – culminating in a hip replacement in February this year – has given her a particular affinity for anyone struggling with pain and disability.

So she was keen to take part in the sponsored swim to raise funds for Aspire, the charity that, in its own words, “provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, supporting them from injury to independence.”

She said:
"I've done another 60 lengths this morning - I have now swum over halfway across the Channel within two weeks. In theory that means that if I keep going at the current rate I should be on track to swim across the Channel three times within the twelve weeks of this challenge. Well, there's a thought!

"It may not be a world record like Sarah Thomas' amazing swim four times across the English Channel earlier this week, but it's a good challenge and it would be a first for me!

"Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, if that's not you, please do!"

Her husband Phil wrote on his blog:

"New possibilities. That’s what Aspire offers to people with spinal injuries. Hope where there was no hope, a future where there was no future. And that’s why I, as Sue’s husband, am proud to support what she’s doing here and want to invite you to become a part of it with her by sponsoring her swim this year.

"One thing that’s kept her going down the years, down the decades in fact, is swimming. Swimming quite literally takes the weight off your feet, relieves the stress on your joints and gives you a sense of freedom that’s difficult to find in any other activity.

"Starting the day with a swim is like pressing a reset button on your mind as you enter the rhythm of the strokes, stretching out and reaching for the pool’s far end, then repeat, occasionally changing stroke until, suddenly, you find that you’ve swum 40, 50 or even 60 lengths: where did the time go? But as the time flies by, your mind settles, ideas coalesce and new possibilities take shape.

"She’s really going for it this time around, out of the pool and into open water, swimming in lakes and in the sea, stretching out, recharging her batteries and, with your support and mine, saving someone else’s world.

Whether it’s as little as a fiver – less than the price of a coffee and a cake in most cafés these days – or something more, whatever you can afford, every contribution counts.

You can support Archdeacon Sue by donating here.

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