AS the nights draw in and temperatures begins to plunge, the last thing most people would want to do is swim through the icy cold waters of the River Wye.

But one woman had a cause close to her heart as she embarked from the mist-shrouded shores of the Wye near Symonds Yat to swim down towards Monmouth with 100 others.

Ann Sutcliffe, 58, was raising money in memory of her late sister, Felicity Wood, who died from pancreatic cancer last year. She is hoping to raise, along with other family members, £10,000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK.

The event attracted veteran long distance swimmers along with first timers like Ann, who until 12 months ago hadn’t swum anywhere in a river, let alone 7km.

Ann, who works at Hereford-based care charity Independence Trust and lives in Ludlow, describes her feelings in the days before the event as 'nervous crossed with excited'.

She said: "I’d practised swimming in a few rivers running up to the event but as the days drew closer I began to feel really rather nervous, on the day the water temperature was a rather moderate 11°C so once I’d I got going and the wetsuit began to work that’s when the nerves went and the adrenaline kicked in."

She completed the swim in two hours and 15 minutes and altogether the family has so far raised more than £5,400.

She added: "It’s been a really fantastic experience, one that I never saw myself doing but am so thrilled to have accomplished. I’d say to anyone thinking about setting themselves a goal just do it. Yes, make it realistic, but most importantly just go for it.”

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