Banburyshire woman braves freezing waters for marine charity's fight against plastic

A woman from Shotteswell is swimming regularly in waters close to freezing temperatures to fitten up for a huge challenge.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 20th January 2020, 4:05 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 8:58 pm
Jane Ablett walks out of the water after an end-to-end swim of Lake Coniston
Jane Ablett walks out of the water after an end-to-end swim of Lake Coniston

Jane Ablett, 56, is tackling open waters such as Lake Coniston in Cumbria and Loch Tay in Scotland to prepare herself for a swim all around St Mary's Island in the Scilly Isles this autumn.

Her aim is to raise £1,000 for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) which is trying to stop plastics getting into the seas and oceans.

"I am attempting a 15km solo sea swim around St Mary's Island in the Scilly Isles to raise funds for MCS which works tirelessly to try to stop the tide of plastic in our seas and oceans. They clear up coastlines, fund research expeditions and influence policy. The war against plastic is hard, long, and one we should all be aware of," said Mrs Ablett.

Jane Ablett is pictured in temperatures of two degrees in Loch Tay a few weeks ago

"It’s taking a years training and I’m doing cold water swimming at moment. It’s so important that counties inland realise that although we can’t see the sea we are contributing daily over eight million tonnes of plastics that are getting into the seas," she said.

Mrs Ablett, mother of a son of 18 was due to be taking part in a training swim in the Thames last weekend but the water levels were too high after recent rains.

She left her job as the business development manager at the Space Studio School to to train as an open water swim teacher.

"My passion totally is swimming outdoors," she said. "I have been swimming open water for seven years and I have swum all over Great Britain in lakes, rivers and the sea. Some are organised events and some are just personal swims.

Jane Ablett left her job as a business development manager to train as an open water swim teacher

"I have met some great like-minded people along the way and am often accompanied by my Ironwoman sister Dawn Osborne and friend Natasha Morris.

"During the last sea swim I did in Colwyn Bay last year, we did swim with some plastic sadly, so I decided to base a swim challenge this year on raising funds and awareness about the great tide of plastic. It needed to be out of my comfort zone and an endurance sea swim. The Scilly Isle event came to light.

"The swim around St Mary's Isle will be 15.8 km in the cold sea in September. What makes this so challenging is the cold and the sea currents."

The facts, she says, are overwhelming.

Jane Ablett is at home in challenging open water conditions

• More than eight million tons of plastic were dumped into our oceans in 2019.

• A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. Less than half are recycled

• 73 per cebt of beach litter worldwide is plastic

• Scientists have recently discovered microplastics embedded deep in the Arctic ice

• Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100 per cent of marine turtles examined, 59 per cent of whales, 36 per cent of seals and 40 per cent of seabird species.

"Donations are needed to continue the much needed fight against plastics in our seas," said Mrs Ablett who has a Go Fund Me page here

"This will be a hard swim challenge for me - a long way in choppy cold seas and it scares me lots. I'm not one to ask people for money because so many already give to great causes so I needed to make my challenge worthy of people's donations. Every pound allows MCS to continue the fight for us."

Mrs Ablett's swim takes place on September 12.