After spending so much of her life in the swimming pool, there was only one fitting way for Stradbroke pilates instructor Nikki Hambling to celebrate a milestone year.
Set to turn 50 this year, Ms Hambling, who runs Orchid Fitness, has set herself a challenge of swimming 50 miles of butterfly over the course of the year, by which she hopes to raise at least £500 to split between five charities.
The challenge will include completing 50 lengths of the pool during the Swimathon at Stradbroke Swim and Fitness Centre in April, swimming as part of a four-person relay medley team.
Ms Hambling, formerly a swim teacher in Diss and Stradbroke, has also set up a blog, where she updates followers on her progress and explains her choice of charities, Marie Curie, the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, the British Heart Foundation, Anthony Nolan and Tommy’s.
She told the Diss Express: “Turning 50, I thought ‘What can I do?’ I wanted to link in my swimming past.
“I am surprised by how much I’m enjoying it. It’s a long time since I have done this much, but the body is holding up so far.”
Ms Hambling explained the causes she is supporting had “a resonance”, especially Marie Curie, which the 2017 Swimathon is backing.
“Unfortunately, cancer has reared its head in a lot of ways with family and friends. It’s all around me,” she said.
“The good thing is that I have already learned about how some of the money I’m raising will be used.”
She added that she was “really surprised” by the support she had received, and she also encouraged people of all ages to start swimming, describing it as “fantastic exercise, particularly as you get older”.
Asked if she expected each mile to become more difficult as the year goes on, she said: “I hope not — when you start, you are quite keen and enthusiastic. I hope it doesn’t, but if it does, that’s just another challenge to overcome.”
To find out more about Nikki’s challenge and how to support it, visit orchidfitness.wordpress.com