"My father always wanted me to swim the Channel, which I never did. He was Cliff Roberts, from Tipton, and it would have been his 90th birthday on August 30. He died from cancer. So when I saw the Diabetes UK challenge to swim the Channel, I thought I would do it in his memory," said Major Carole Loveridge, the Salvation Army officer based in Oakengates, who herself has diabetes.
"I had been nursing my husband with cancer too. He died three years ago. So this venture was also to try and build myself back up, put some structure back into my life and find a way forward, so that's another reason I wanted to do it. I have gone back to my swimming as something for me really."
By swimming 1,416 lengths at the pool at Oakengates Leisure Centre, she achieved her aim of completing the distance of the 22-mile Channel crossing in time for her father's birthday.
"But then people were saying to me 'are you going to come back from France?' I took it on, and my swim 'back' has been in memory of my husband, Mike Loveridge. We were the ministers, and I am still the Salvation Army officer in Oakengates. My home is in Tipton, but I'm living at The Rock in Telford – because we are ministers we move around, and I am posted to Oakengates, and have been here three years July gone."
Carole, who is 62, had just two miles left to do of her 44-mile challenge as of the middle of this week, with a running total of £1,300 raised for Diabetes UK – donations can be made through a JustGiving page in her name. She has been getting up at 5.30am every morning to be in the pool at 6.30am to get in her stint before schoolchildren start using the pool.
"In one hour and 45 minutes I do 100 lengths. I have had health benefits from it, with my blood pressure, my doctors have taken me off my medicine as I no longer need it, I have lost weight, and my insulin intake has reduced.
"I have had a lot of support from friends and family all over the world."
Although the Diabetes UK Swim22 challenge was ending on October 22 Carole says her page (swim22.diabetes.org.uk/fundraising/carole1473) will remain open for donations until the end of November.