Nurse forced to postpone finishing 220-mile Severn swim

Melissa Compton Image copyright Melissa Compton
Image caption Melissa Compton meant to cross the Severn estuary at the weekend but it was too unsafe, she said

A nurse has had to postpone finishing a 220-mile charity swim along the length of the River Severn to go back to work.

Melissa Compton, 39, had planned to cross the estuary to Bristol on Saturday but low tides made it unsafe.

Rather than continue, she says she has to return to work on Tuesday, and does not want to risk patient safety through tiredness.

Ms Compton, who began the swim in Wales in early June, has not set a date for completing the final leg.

Image copyright Melissa Compton
Image caption Ms Compton says she does not want to be tired during her nursing shifts

She originally set herself a three-week target, launching the bid from the Severn's source on a mountain.

The Shropshire nurse had hoped to finish by swimming into the Bristol Channel, landing at Severn Beach.

"I have one swim left, but the wind isn't ideal on the estuary and I have to go back to work," she said.

"I swam [on Sunday night] and it was so choppy. [On Monday] the weather is a little worse, so it's not safe."

Ms Compton works 12-hour shifts in intensive care at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and says the work is tiring, so she needs "a little left in the tank".

"I have a responsibility to the patients to be able to look after them," she said.

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Media captionThe nurse swimming the length of a river

The weather has not been the only impediment. Ms Compton suffered hypothermia and fatigue during the swim and was hospitalised in Gloucester on 23 June with a sickness bug after "swallowing sewage".

Of future plans, she said: "I'm going to finish when I can."

She is raising money for the charity Versus Arthritis as a thank you for funding stem cell treatment on her damaged knee. So far she has raised almost £2,500.

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