This Lancashire grandmother with diabetes is swimming twice the length of the English Channel for vital research funding

A Lancashire grandmother is swimming the equivalent of the English Channel – twice – to raise vital funds for Diabetes UK.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 2:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st January 2019, 3:48 pm
Wendy Dengate with husband Giles on their wedding day

Wendy Dengate is taking on the swimming challenge of the year, Swim 22, for a second time, between February 22 and May 22 after losing more than three stone following her own Type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Wendy, from Eccleston, Chorley, said: “After my diagnosis, I knew I needed to make some lifestyle changes.

“I was overweight and unfit but knew something had to change, I needed to put myself first and turn my life around.”

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Wendy Dengate with husband Giles on their wedding day

The welfare assistant at Eccleston Primary School added: “Receiving my diagnosis was difficult but the school and in particularly the head teacher, Kelvin Wilkins, have been incredibly supportive, which has made a big difference.”

Wendy was diagnosed in September 2017, shortly after her 50th birthday, at which point she decided to change her lifestyle.

The Diabetes UK Swim22 challenge tasks participants with swimming the length of 22 miles over three months, but Wendy will be doubling that distance and is hoping to swim 44 miles instead.

The 51-year-old said: “Swimming has been a great way to get fit and is easy to fit into my busy life.

“It’s made a huge difference to my life and my husband Giles has been there to support me all the way.

“I loved last year’s Swim22 challenge, so much so that I ended up swimming 111 miles during last year’s challenge, so who knows how far I might swim this year.”

Maria Whittaker, Diabetes UK Regional Fundraiser, said: “We are delighted that Wendy is making a splash for Diabetes UK.

“The lengths that she is going to will bring us closer to our vision of a world where diabetes can do no harm.”

To sign up for Swim22, go to