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Press Releases 1 September 2020

Paralysed Army Combat Paramedic to tackle English Channel swim in World first bid

A former British Army Combat Paramedic will tonight (12:00AM Wednesday 2 September 2020) begin her bid to become the first woman paralysed from the chest down to swim 21 miles solo across the English Channel.

Nerys Pearce, 38, from Ascot was left unable to move from her chest down when a car reversed in front of her motorbike in October 2008. Five years ago, she was bed bound, 18 stone and “wanting to end it.” Now, after turning her life around with support from military charity, Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, she hopes to swim the channel in under 16 hours in a one-piece swimsuit (skins).

“The channel is a scary beast,” said Nerys. “I’ve never swum that distance before and there’s a lot that you can’t control; there’s the weather, big ships, jelly fish and even my body temperature in the water, so the lack of control is always more difficult.

“No one of my disability has completed the channel swim before, so while I’m hoping for a world first, there’s a real chance of not making it across. There are so many able-bodied swimmers that have trained hard and don’t make it. Add my level of disability into the mix and coronavirus stopping us swimming for a period of time, and it puts everything more to the danger edge. But I love the adrenaline roller coaster!”

Nerys’s self-funded swim is the last event in her Triple Endurance Challenge in aid of Blesma who, in her words, “saved her life.” The challenge has so far seen her continually push her everyday wheelchair 105 miles around Ascot, followed by a 100-mile cycle around London’s Royal Parks weeks later.

Since getting “phenomenal” support from Blesma to lead an independent life, Nerys has excelled herself in Sport; winning ten medals in powerlifting, rowing track and field at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, competing for Team Wales in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, conquering the toughest cycle race in the world “Race Across America” in 2019 and recently becoming a driver for Motorsport team, Team BRIT.

“I would not be doing these challenges if it hadn’t been for Blesma getting me on the right path, always being so supportive and behind me. Blesma really saved my life. I wanted to do something to try and give back to the charity that’s given me phenomenal support.” 

To track Nerys' progress, click here - 
To support Nerys' bid, click here - 



Notes to Editor

Hi-res images can be downloaded from the links below: