Telford woman takes on 22-mile charity swimming challenge

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Health | Published:

An office worker from Telford is preparing to swim the equivalent of the English Channel to raise vital funds for charity.

Helen Hill

Helen Hill will be taking on the Swim22 challenge to raise money for Diabetes UK.

The 43-year-old, of Muxton, will have to swim 22 miles in 12 weeks and will be carrying out her challenge in the pool at Oakengates Leisure Centre.

She was diagnosed with type two diabetes in February last year but has since lost more than 11 stone in weight, putting her condition into remission.

Helen, who works in sales for manufacturing company Pendock in Telford, had been feeling unwell a few months before her diagnosis.

She says she was shocked to hear she had diabetes and realised she needed to take action to change her life.

“I have an under active thyroid and to be honest I have been struggling to lose weight my entire life," Helen said.

Helen Hill before she lost weight

"But the type two diabetes diagnosis was a real light bulb moment for me.


"The medication I was put on made me feel unwell, so after consulting my doctor I went on a ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting.

“It was the change I needed, I shed lots of weight and put my condition into remission. I carried on with the diet and managed to lose 11 stone in one year.

“I feel so much better and even though I still have a little more weight to go, the transformation has been dramatic. A year ago I was talking about needing bariatric surgery and worrying about diabetes-related complications, but now I’m about to embark on this amazing challenge.

“This is why Swim22 came at a perfect time for me. I want to raise money for Diabetes UK, but also raise awareness and understanding of this condition.”


There are an estimated 4.7 million people living with diabetes in the UK.

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly.


If not managed well, both type one and type two diabetes can lead to devastating complications, including sight loss, nerve damage, kidney failure and stroke.

With the right treatment and support people living with diabetes can lead a long and healthy life.

Siobhan Clifford, Diabetes UK West Midlands fundraiser, said: “We are delighted that Helen is making a splash for Diabetes UK.

"The lengths that she is going to will bring us closer to our vision of a world where diabetes can do no harm.

“Swim22 is perfect if you want to challenge yourself to get fitter at your own pace and in your own time. You can swim in your local pool alone or, better still, get your family, friends and colleagues involved. Our dedicated team will be on hand to support you from start to finish.”

Diabetes UK says it encourages anyone with diabetes to speak to their healthcare team before making drastic changes to their diet.

Helen will complete her challenge between February 22 and May 22.

To sponsor Helen visit

To sign up for Swim22, go to

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.


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