UK sisters from Watford to cross the English Channel in memory of their deceased younger sibling by 2019
London,August11:Two sisters will swim across the English Channel next year in memory of their younger sibling who died of a sudden heart attack during a routine hospital check-up.
Helen Smith, 50, and Hayley Brent, 46, have embarked on various swimming challenges every year for The British Heart Foundation, in a bid to “cope” since their younger sister Heather died at the age of 36 just before Christmas in 2009.
Ms Smith, who lives in Evans Avenue, near North Approach in Watford, explained that the sisters rediscovered a lost passion from their youth after taking a dip in open water five years ago.
They started with one mile challenges but then upped the ante with 14 kilometres challenges in Coniston and Windermere in Cumbria.
She explained each swim holds a “personal meaning” for the pair, as they always leave a bouquet of flowers in the water half way through for Heather.
Ms Smith said: “Heather was an incredible woman who gave so much of herself to so many and her untimely passing from a heart condition we knew nothing about was a shock to us all- especially as it happened on the table while she was getting a routine check-up at hospital.
“When we started out, we had no idea how far it would go – our goal was merely to survive. We could both swim, a good start, but we had no knowledge about swimming in open water. On speaking to some sporty friends, we gathered as much information as we could about what to expect and what we would need.
“Our swim across the Channel will be between 30 and 50 miles but we cannot tell how long it will take. We both work fulltime jobs but every weekend we go to Dover and train in the harbour with a Channel Swimming group who are also training for long distance challenges. It’s really changed our lives.”
Ms Smith added she knew Heather would be “proud” of her sisters.
She said: “They say that real life begins at the end of your comfort zone and every year we have committed to raising the bar.
“Every day, we know that Heather is watching and that she is immensely proud of us.”