Europe to Asia swim will fund war memorial

Sara Long, who will be swimming from Europe to Asia. NNL-140807-123325001
Sara Long, who will be swimming from Europe to Asia. NNL-140807-123325001

A plucky woman who used to hate water sport is swimming from Europe to Asia next weekend.

Sara Long, who overcame her dislike of water to be a competitive swimmer, will tackle the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim – one of the world’s top 100 open water swims.

She hopes to inspire people to donate money to rebuild the war memorial in her home village of Middleton Cheney.

Among the other 1,800 entrants in this year’s race are Pippa and James Middleton, brother and sister of the Duchess of Cambridge. “I hated swimming for years and much preferred running, but after I did a triathlon and had to swim in a lake I changed my mind,” said Miss Long, now of Banbury.

“The Bosphorus swim is 6.5km and the strait is closed for just two hours, although we will be swimming with the current so hopefully it won’t be too difficult. The only problem might be jellyfish.

“We leave for Istanbul next Thursday and the swim is on Sunday.”

Middleton’s village historian is Miss Long’s mum, Nancy, who said: “The war memorial in the churchyard was paid for by parishoners in 1921 but is crumbling and unsafe.

“It is the only memorial dedicated to the young men who laid down their lives from 1914-1921.

“It’s estimated it will cost £10,000 to replace. There’s no deadline and we’ve been delighted with the response so far to our appeal.”

Donations or sponsorship for Miss Long should be left at the Butler’s Pantry, Middleton or call 01295 710258.