AN 83-year old retired nurse from Falmouth has proved she really has spirit after raising over £2,000 for charity with an early morning swim.

Mary Bradley raised an amazing £2,045 for the Catholic aid agency, CAFOD by completing 20 swims for 30-minutes at Swanpool beach each morning at 7am.

She said: “I decided to do 20 swims at 7 o’clock in the morning across Swanpool beach, which is a lovely beach about a mile and a half away, with a nature reserve which has swans and all sorts of ducks.

"Usually, I was in the water by half past six and stayed in for half an hour-the water was cold in the beginning, but it got warmer the longer I stayed.

“I really enjoyed swimming early in the morning, it's quiet and the sea is so beautiful. Sometimes I can see the sunrise coming over the castle on the headlands, and all the different colours in the sky, blues and the dappled whites. I think how wonderful and beautiful our creation is.”

CAFOD, launched an urgent appeal in March to respond to the unparalleled global challenge of tackling the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

Surprised by the amount she was able to raise, Mary said: “The Lord blessed my sponsored swim, because the total amount came to £2,045.” She continued “People in my parish were extremely generous and I asked all my other friends, some of whom were very generous indeed, and that was how it came to be – and I enjoyed it very much, well, most times I enjoyed it!”

Sharing why fundraising for this appeal was so important to her, Mary said: “It’s close to my heart because I am also a lay associate of the Irish Medical Missionaries of Mary, and 40 years ago I worked in several countries including Nigeria and Liberia as a lay missionary nurse tutor, and I have some idea of what things are like for folks in some of the rural areas, so missions are very much in my heart all the time.”

Thinking about what she could do to fundraise for the appeal, Mary says that she was too old to abseil down the side of the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall or do a bungy jump, and the idea to do the swim simply came from her interest in walking and swimming to keep fit which she says is something she can do.

“I think it is just a question of determination and having an idea in your mind and asking yourself why you want to do it. Why do you want to raise the money, why is it important? To me it’s extremely important, because I know the things that CAFOD and The Medical Missionaries of Mary are doing to enable people avoid getting the virus by getting soap and clean water supplies to them,” said Mary.