Braintree medical student's charity swim inspired by terminally ill stepfather

Sophie Burnage

Sophie Burnage

First published in North Essex

A medical student was so determined to complete a sponsored swim she found a new venue when the original event was cancelled at the last minute.

Sophie Burnage, 21, had hoped to swim a mile across the Thames in the Great London Swim on Saturday for the Brain Tumour Charity.

Her stepfather Barry Allen is terminally ill with a tumour, which he was diagnosed with at 40 - nine months after doctors initially thought he had suffered a stroke - and given a life expectancy of five years.

But on Friday, Sophie, who attends Keele University, found out the swim had been cancelled because part of the course failed an independent water quality testing criteria that organisers must adhere to.

Her mum Annette Allen, of Sovereign Close, Braintree, said: “Determined as Sophie is not to let people down who had sponsored her, she called Lee Valley White Water Centre, where the Olympic water sports took place.

“On hearing of Sophie’s predicament, the deputy manager Pascale agreed to meet Sophie and her supporters at the centre to allow her to complete her challenge in open water.”

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