Ely couple raise thousands by completing Great North Swim

From left: Charlotte Lowry, fiancé Lee Mulderrig and Ayliffe Rose.

From left: Charlotte Lowry, fiancé Lee Mulderrig and Ayliffe Rose. - Credit: Archant

They’ve taken a dip in Europe’s biggest open water swimming event.

Now bride-to-be Charlotte Lowry and fiancé Lee Mulderrig reckon they’re ready to take the plunge.

The couple, from Ely, who will marry later this month, have just completed the Great North Swim, a one mile slog across the waters of Lake Windermere, England’s largest natural lake.

Joined by friend Ayliffe Rose, the sight of the finishing post was even sweeter as they raised nearly £2000 for a charity which funds research into Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME).

ME, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, causes persistent fatigue which affects everyday life and doesn’t go away with sleep or rest.

It’s a cause close to RSPB project manager Charlotte’s heart, as her mother, Rosey, was diagnosed with the condition more than 20 years ago. Ayliffe’s sister also had it as a child.

“The wedding will feel like a piece of cake after the swim!” jokes 33-year-old Charlotte. “I’ve been concentrating on training, so at least I haven’t had time for any big day nerves.

Most Read

“But it was brilliant, really good – we all enjoyed it and there was a real sense of achievement at the end. I finished in a time of 36 minutes; Lee did it in 31 and Ayliffe in 33.

“There is a bit of competition between me and Lee, so it’s probably for the best that his time was the best!”

The couple joined 10,000 other swimmers last weekend (12/13/14 June) to take part in challenge, which sees some of the best open water swimmers in the world take part.

“Lee and I have always loved open water swimming. But we’ve never taken part in anything like this before. We started training in January and joined Ely Triathlon Club, which we’ve really enjoyed.”

Lee, 28, who works in medical research, and Charlotte will marry at Ely Registry Office at the end of June. The kind-hearted couple have already asked friends and family to give donations to the ME Association charity, instead of wedding gifts.

But the day will be tinged with sadness for Charlotte, as Rosey, a former college lecturer, won’t be by her side.

“Mum is pretty much housebound now. She suffers from constant tiredness, painful muscles, noise and light sensitivity and migraines,” explains Charlotte.

“We’re having a party near my parents’ house in September, so I’m hoping she’ll be able to come for a few minutes then, but we’ll have to wait and see.

“We’ve asked the ME Association to put the money we raise towards research. Because without finding out what causes it, how can you treat it?

“I know mum is proud of us, and overwhelmed by the amount of money people have given. It’s great for her to see that people really do care.”

Rosey added: “I am very proud and heartened by the generosity of Charlotte ,Lee and Ayliffe doing the tough challenge of the Great North Swim. For Charlotte and Lee to ask people to support this cause instead of giving them wedding gifts is fantastic and a real sacrifice.

“ME , which I have had for 23years, has robbed me of the busy lovely life I once had and for me and the other 250,000 sufferers in the UK a cure would be a dream come true.”

Helen Hyland, fundraising manager for the ME Association, said: “We cannot thank Charlotte, Lee and Ayliffe enough for all their magnificent fundraising for The ME Association whilst also planning their wedding. Our thoughts and very best wishes go to you all, especially to Rosey, on your special day”.

To donate or find out more, visit Charlotte, Lee and Ayliffe’s JustGiving page: