AN INCREDIBLE swimmer beat illness, fierce tides and jellyfish to successfully conquer the English Channel – raising thousands for a local hospice in the process.

Bramley woman Zoe Sadler, 38, completed the epic 21-mile swim across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in exactly 16 hours.

Zoe, a manager at KPMG, in Reading, said: “The swim started at 2am and it was pitch black for the first three hours.

“Sixteen hours later, I stood up on a beautiful sandy beach in the sun at Cap Blanc Nez in France. It was a perfect place to finish. I swam well throughout and genuinely enjoyed it.

“Along the way, we had a fair few dramas – I suffered from violent sickness, I encountered jellyfish and a microclimate mid-Channel when it suddenly got really choppy.

“The hardest bit was after 11 hours when I was only three miles off the coast of France and I could see houses. The tide turned, meaning I was being sent back up the Channel in the direction of Norway.”

It took Zoe, of Farriers Close, four-and-a-half hours of intense swimming to break through the tide and make it to the shallower water.

She said: “Even though I was working my hardest, I was merely maintaining my distance from the French coastline.”

She has so far raised more than £4,000 for St Michael’s Hospice , in Aldermaston Road , Basingstoke, and hopes people will continue to donate through

Though not in any hurry to replicate her mammoth solo Channel swim of July 23, Zoe is taking part in a three-person Channel relay next June, having previously taken part in a similar event.

A member of Basingstoke Bluefins swimming club, she also hopes to swim the length of Lake Windermere and the length of Lake Zurich, in Switzerland, the Gibraltar Straits, and a circumnavigation of Manhattan Island.