Northumberland mum with stoma hoping to make history with channel swim

Gill Castle is hoping to become the first person with a stoma to swim the English Channel. Credit: Handout

A Northumberland woman has set off from Dover for France as tries to become the first person in the world with a stoma to swim the English Channel.

Gill Castle, from Alnwick, left Dover on Monday (12 September) evening and hopes to arrive in Calais on Tuesday morning.

Mrs Castle was left with a stoma - an opening in her stomach - after the birth of her son in 2011 and is hoping to shine a light on women with similar issues.

Following her stoma she suffered PTSD and had to leave her job as a police officer.

She has been training for the 21 mile swim for more than two years. She has spent hours in her local pool in Alnwick and in the North Sea. She has also had hypnotherapy to overcome her fear of swimming in the dark.

Gill Castle

Gill said: "I'm doing it because I've got a stoma as result of having a baby.

"I want a spotlight shone on all these women like myself who are injured having a baby, a topic of huge stigma that nobody talks about.

"Also for people who have got stomas and I really want to show them that having a stoma does not need to define the rest of your lives."

Gill is also raising money for her charity Chameleon Buddies which runs support groups for people living with a stoma in Northumberland. Her charity also sends stoma equipment to women and girls in Kenya where supplies are limited.

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