A former Bourne youth leader has swum her way into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Clare Wookey, 46, says she is proud and delighted for the worldwide recognition of a remarkable feat of endurance swimming.
Clare goes into the iconic record book with four teammates who completed a return relay swim between Northern Ireland and Scotland in June.
The all-women team completed the challenge in 28hr 25min, the quickest time ever for the non-stop relay swim in the North Channel.
Clare, who ran Bourne Army Cadets for three years and is now the county cadet force’s sports officer, said: “Getting into the record books was not something we set out to do, so I was surprised to end up in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“To be honest, we were just happy to finish. The swim hasn’t been done many times and we were looking at 36 hours, so we were quite surprised to set a record.”
The record was confirmed by the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association at a ceremony attended by members of the team earlier this month, paving the way for it to be published by Guinness World Records.
The intrepid swimmers overcame choppy waters, jellyfish stings and hypothermia in water as cold as 11deg C to complete the challenge over 50 nautical miles.
Clare, who moved from Bourne to Deeping St James three years ago, and works as an academy manager at Peterborough Regional College, became involved with the Army Cadets when she introduced her daughter Kayleigh Adams to the youth group aged 12.
She stepped down as leader in Bourne in 2011 when her enthusiasm for open water swimming and her daughter’s emergence as a promising triathlete made greater demands on her time.
Clare’s enthusiasm for swimming came out of misfortune following kidney failure in 2010.
Her treatment at Leicester Renal Unit was successful - although her condition still requires close monitoring - and in appreciation for the care she received, Clare decided to take part in her first triathlon to raise money for the hospital.
She said: “I soon discovered I would never be a runner, but I got into outdoor swimming. I will never be the fastest, but I am determined and like to test my endurance.
“My life experiences have always told me that with the right mindset anything is possible and I am living proof of that.”
“I am a great believer in the positive effect of sport as a means of developing teamwork and leadership skills.
“We did two cross Channel relay swims with the cadets in 2013 and now I organise county swimming, football and athletics tournaments and also run a junior triathlon club in Deeping, ‘Dig Deep ‘n’ Tri Deeping Triathlon.”
The North Channel swim was the first of seven being undertaken by the Ocean Walkers ladies.
The next, in August, will be to swim the Catalina Straight in California.
The swimmers are aiming to raise funds for Papworth Hospital and Parkinsons.