ME woman Beth French swims 26 miles to Scilly

Beth French Beth French could not use flippers, a wetsuit or drysuit in the challenge

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A woman who was once forced to use a wheelchair because of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or ME, has swum 26 miles from Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly.

Beth French, 36, who had the condition as a teenager, made the crossing in 17 hours, 28 minutes.

The massage therapist from Milverton, Somerset, is believed to be the first person to complete the swim in that direction.

Now she is planning a swim from Gibraltar to Morocco.

Beth French Beth French said she was stung all over her body by jellyfish

Ms French was struck with glandular fever at the age of 10 and diagnosed with ME at 17, when she was forced to use a wheelchair.

After swimming the English Channel in 2012, she went on to complete a 24-hour swim in the Molokai Channel in Hawaii in December 2012.

Speaking after her latest achievement, Ms French said: "I was determined to finish, there was no question of not achieving it.

"I was absolutely gobsmacked when I heard the time, I had expected to do it in 20 hours."

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy)is a debilitating condition involving severe fatigue, painful muscles and joints, gastric complaints and poor memory and concentration
  • It can leave patients bed-ridden in severe cases.
  • Up to a quarter of a million people suffer from the disorder in the UK.

Ms French was observing English Channel rules during the swim, meaning she could not use flippers, a wetsuit or drysuit.

"There was an awful lot of jellyfish," she said. "They stung regularly but not badly. After a while, I managed to ignore them.

"There's not an inch of my body that hasn't been stung."

An estimated 250,000 people in the UK suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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