A HORSE-lover from Warwick is swapping the saddle for a swimsuit.
Heather Clatworthy is preparing to swim the English Channel next June in a bid to raise £20,000 for the British Horse Society (BHS).
And if successful, the 37-year-old will also become the first ever woman from Northern Ireland to complete the 21-mile swim from Dover to Calais.
The mum-of-two has been a horse rider since the age of seven and a charity worker at the BHS for almost 15 years.
Heather said: “It was just four years ago that my maximum length in open water was 2km so this is certainly going to be a huge challenge for me to undertake.
“Working and being a mum means my training opportunities are restricted, but I don’t let that stop me, I just go about it a little differently.
“My goal is simple, to swim from England to France, however long it takes, and to reach my fund-raising target of £20,000 for the BHS.
“More people have conquered Everest than successfully swum the channel. It is not a feat to be underestimated, but I am preparing myself as best I can for the challenge.
“The BHS is the UK’s largest equestrian charity and I believe and take pride in everything it delivers to benefit the lives of horses, riders, carriage drivers, coaches and those who simply wish to be around horses.
“The charity has done so much to improve my own life with horses over the 21 years of being a member, and thousands of people throughout my time working with them so I would love to be able to give something back which will ultimately continue to make a lasting difference to the lives of horses and those who care about them.”
Heather, who will be wearing a regular swimming costume, a cap, and goggles, will face temperatures of around 15 degrees.
The journey could take up to 28 hours meaning some of it could be spent in darkness with – as the swimmer said – potential ‘rogue jellyfish’.
Of just over 1,800 people who have swum the channel, around 670 have been women.
Search Heather Clatworthy on justgiving.com to donate and on YouTube to follow her journey.