Sue takes plunge for Macular Society swimming event

Sue and Stephen Smalley swim EMN-160410-094706001
Sue and Stephen Smalley swim EMN-160410-094706001
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A woman took part in an open-water swim for a cause close to her heart.

Sue Smalley, from Essendine, took part in the first ever Swim Serpetine event last month in aid of the Macular Society, which helps people with the most common cause of sight loss in the UK.

Sue, 52, has early stage age-related macular degeneration and completed the one mile course in 43 minutes 58 seconds. She took part in the event along with her husband, Stephen, who finished in just over 33 minutes.

Together the couple have raised £1,500 for the society.

Sue said: “After a lot of training and anticipation, we felt very lucky to be blessed with glorious weather which made the venue and event even more special.

“Swimming in open water presents its own challenges compared to a swimming pool and can be quite disorientating at times. I found the first bit really hard going, but once I found my pace, I was fine. It was my first open water swim and I was very happy to get round in one piece.”

The day was a real family occasion, with daughters Hannah and Laura, and parents John and Pat, cheering the couple on.

Sue added: “Swimming in the middle of such an iconic city was an opportunity not to be missed and we had a lovely day together with my parents and our two daughters, who live 160 miles apart.”

The couple only started swimming regularly last year, when they retired from running their electrical company. They both now swim up to four times a week.

Sue volunteers as a skills for seeing trainer and speaker for the society, and first heard about the swim through a society volunteering day. Her father suffers from the same condition and inspired her to join the society five years ago.

Sue is also involved with a local art class and runs a lunch club, and found plenty of support for her fundraising.

She said: “I know any funds we raise will be put to good use to help fund the society’s support services and research.”

For more information, call the Macular Society’s helpline on 0300 3030 111 or e-mail