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Paralysed Paula Craig to swim English Channel from Dover as part of a relay team to raise funds for Aspire

A woman paralysed with a complete spinal cord injury will set off to swim the English Channel without a wetsuit as part of a relay team.

The date is significant for Paula Craig, 59, a former police officer and marathon runner, as it will be the 21st anniversary of the day she received her injury when she was knocked off her bicycle.

Paula Craig and her Affinity team members
Paula Craig and her Affinity team members

She will set off from Dover in the early hours to swim in one-hour rotations with other members of a relay team for Aspire, the national charity that supports people with spinal cord injury.

A previous attempt last year was thwarted by bad weather.

Ms Craig has refused to let her injury defeat her and has "run" the London Marathon in a wheelchair and competed as a wheelchair tri-athlete at an international level, while continuing to work as a police officer for the Met, being promoted to DI and working in the murder squad, internal affairs and counter terrorism.

In 2005 she was awarded the MBE for her services to policing.

Ms Craig said: "Twenty-one years ago my life changed in an instant when I was hit by a car whilst out cycling, leaving me paralysed from the waist down.

Paula Craig will swim the Channel without a wetsuit
Paula Craig will swim the Channel without a wetsuit

"As a police officer and marathon runner, I had no idea what the future would hold but, thanks to Aspire and the amazing work they do, I was able to return to both and to live life to the full.

"To mark the anniversary of the accident and to celebrate my achievements of the past 20 years, I will be taking on the waves, the cold water and the jellyfish to raise much-needed funds so that Aspire can continue its vital work helping those affected by spinal cord injury."

The team of six will be leaving Dover at 1.30am tonight to hopefully travel the 22 miles to France.

She has a JustGiving page here.

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