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Folkestone mum Jo Lamb takes on swimming challenge to mark 75th anniversary of Mission Aviation Fellowship

A Folkestone woman will be spending a lot of time in the water between now and the new year.

Mum-of-two Jo Lamb is planning to swim in the sea 75 times before January 1 to mark the 75th anniversary of Mission Aviation Fellowship - the world’s largest humanitarian airline.

Jo Lamb on Folkestone beach
Jo Lamb on Folkestone beach

A keen sea swimmer but novice to winter waters, Jo began her 75-swim challenge on November 1 as part of MAF’s 7&5 campaign, which encourages the public to undertake a personal challenge to celebrate 75 years of its lifesaving air service.

She has also recently written a book about MAF to mark its anniversary year.

Jo hopes that her swimming and writing will raise awareness and give people some escapism and joy in the build-up to a very different Christmas.

She said: "As we come to the end of what has been a very challenging year for everyone, we all need a bit of escapism from the uncertainty that lies ahead.

"So, I thought that I would commit to two personal challenges – writing a book and swimming in the winter sea.

Jo Lamb embarks on her swimming challenge
Jo Lamb embarks on her swimming challenge

"I love writing, and I love swimming, so I thought that these two elements could be used to give something back.

"MAF is a truly amazing international charity which often goes under the radar.

"With a headquarters here in Folkestone, MAF has been flying for 75 years – but so many people have never heard of it.

"This book Above and Beyond is a stunning coffee-table book, which people can flick through and get a taste of MAF’s work.

"There are so many images and stories which bring me joy, and I hope they will be uplifting for others too – especially for Christmas 2020, which will see most of us sitting around our coffee tables rather a lot!

Beautiful time of day for a swim
Beautiful time of day for a swim

"We all need a bit of encouragement during these difficult times, and Above and Beyond can take you to the most remote corners of the world.

"As a busy working mum with two kids under five, swimming in the sea is giving me a great boost and really lifts my mood.

"I would recommend it to anyone – get out there and do something for you and for others!"

Born in the aftermath of the Second World War, MAF was founded by a handful of RAF airmen and women who sought to use aircraft for peace rather than war.

One of these, pioneering local hero and D-Day landings veteran, Stuart King, died in Folkestone in August this year, aged 98.

Early-morning swim for Jo Lamb as part of her fundraiser
Early-morning swim for Jo Lamb as part of her fundraiser

From one four-seater plane flown by Stuart and co-founder Jack Hemmings on a survey flight across Central Africa in 1948, MAF now lands in more destinations than any other airline and has a fleet of over 130 humanitarian aircraft.

MAF partners with more than 2,000 NGOs to deliver medicine, relief cargo and emergency evacuation flights to communities with little or no access by road.

To honour Stuart and celebrate MAF’s 75th anniversary, Jo is taking the plunge more than once every day until the end of the year and is dedicating the new book Above and Beyond to his memory.

To sponsor Jo's swimming challenge, click here. For book orders, click here.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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