'Real-life' mermaid's swim in Morecambe Bay raises over £1k for charity

An incredible wheelchair-bound woman completed a bay swim raising over £1,000 for a charity close to her heart ....despite an ankle injury days before her epic challenge.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 3:45 pm

Geraldine Holland, who cannot walk or stand, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 15 years ago. She has had to use a wheelchair in the past five years and requires a carer to support her in her everyday tasks.

However, the determined 59-year-old, of Sandylands Prom, Morecambe, didn't let her disability or the cold temperature of the water get in the way of her fundraising challenge in aid of Beyond FGM, which she completed having donned a mermaid's tail!

Founded by her sister, Cathleen, the charity is made up of a group of UK midwives and friends who got together to help end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) within the Pokot community in Kenya. Beyond FGM defines FGM as the "partial or totally removal of the external female genitalia, including the clitoris and labia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons".

Geraldine Holland makes a splash for charity

Cathleen visited Kenya in the year 2000 to volunteer. After her two year stay in Kenya, Geraldine said her sister "couldn't turn her back on it" and so Geraldine decided to play her part in supporting the charity by completing a fundraising swim in Morecambe Bay.

Praising Geraldine's determination and bravery, her carer Rosanna, said: "She was really excited about being able to go for a swim in the sea, but as the weather started to get colder, she began feeling apprehensive about it. Not long after deciding to do it, she had an unfortunate accident and suffered a broken ankle. But her bravery paid off, she absolutely loved it and would have stayed in longer if the sea had been calmer. It was a grey, overcast day and the sea was quite choppy."

She added: "Geraldine was cheered on by friends, neighbours and carers. Myself and friends Jim, Matt, Andy and Mia all helped during the swim. A couple of days before the swim, we had a quick look in a charity shop and came across some fabric that caught our attention. As we opened it up to have a look, it turned out to be a pink mermaid's tail. This was fantastic and a sure sign to just go ahead with it, it seemed very appropriate as Geraldine is not able to walk at all and is often referred to as a 'mermaid' because she used to swim several times a week, until the local swimming pool closed down."

She went onto say: "So far, she has raised an amazing £1,035 and we are all so proud of her and thankful to everyone who has donated. She believes that women should look after each other and feels that she's in a privileged position to help make a difference in the lives of so many young girls."

Geraldine cheered on by her carer, friends and neighbours

Anyone wishing to donate towards Geraldine's cause is asked to CLICK HERE