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Swimmers take the plunge for RSPB

PUBLISHED: 16:35 03 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:19 12 August 2010

A BIRD lover is swimming the English Channel to raise money for charity. Printer Sarah Cobell, 30, from Beckenham has been training in

A BIRD lover is swimming the English Channel to raise money for charity.

Printer Sarah Cobell, 30, from Beckenham has been training in Dover Harbour since May in preparation for the mammoth task to raise funds for the RSPB.

She is hoping to dive into her challenge some time between this Saturday and next Saturday, dependent on conditions.

She will form part of a relay team of three Kent adults and three children, to swim across the Channel in one-hour shifts.

The team will try to complete the challenge in 16 hours, although it could take as long as 24.

Mrs Cobell said: "When I first went training in May I was in the water for 40 minutes. When I came out I was shaking so much I couldn't even drink a cup of tea I was given.

"The RSPB is running a marine campaign at the moment, trying to protect parts of our seas for birds, so I thought they would be the perfect charity to swim for."

RSPB fundraising officer, Cathy O'Neill, said: "We are delighted Sarah has decided to swim for us and wish her all the luck in the world.

"The money she raises will help save birds and wildlife and the special places they live. Without people like her, the essential work we do speaking out for nature just wouldn't happen."

Mrs Cobell aims to raise £1,000 for the RSPB and has acquired some celebrity support along the way.

Brighton band British Sea Power recently nominated for a Mercury Music Prize, have signed up to donate after Mrs Cobell approached them at a gig.

The band are also wildlife fans and named one of their tracks The Great Skua, after an Amber Listed sea bird.

Mrs Cobell has been an RSPB member for five years, her interest sparked after seeing birds in the Bromley countryside, where she regularly walks with her husband.

To sponsor Mrs Cobell, contact Cathy O'Neill at RSPB on 01273 775333. For more information on the RSPB's Marine Campaign: Save Our Sealife visit www.rspb.org.uk/marine.

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