Soul singer completes lake swim challenge

Carleen Anderson, god-daughter of soul legend James Brown with her medal after completing the Great North Swim in Lake Windemere, Lake District. Photo credit Julien Boast
Carleen Anderson, god-daughter of soul legend James Brown with her medal after completing the Great North Swim in Lake Windemere, Lake District. Photo credit Julien Boast
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A Cranleigh soul singer and god-daughter of music legend James Brown swam in a chilly Lake Windemere for Cancer Research UK.

Carleen Anderson, 55, who completed the mile-long Great North Swim in just over an hour, swam in memory of relatives.

Her aunt and her first vocal teacher Bettye Anderson died of breast cancer when Carleen was 13 and her stepfather, Bobby Byrd, a highly respected member of the James Brown band died of throat cancer in 2007.

She said: “I was a newcomer to swimming so it was a great challenge but I wanted to do it in honour of my loved ones.

“It seemed the least I could do in their memory. There are also so many others I know who have been personally devastated by this disease, making the cause well worth the effort.”

More than 5,000 swimmers took on the half mile, one mile or two mile distances despite extreme weather.

Carleen said: “By Sunday the weather had calmed but I was very nervous. The safety stewards were brilliant - very encouraging and motivating - which made me feel secure and gave me the courage to carry on when at times the distance seemed too far to reach.

“It is an experience that has literally changed my life. Most importantly, in thinking of the struggles that those facing cancer have to deal with. This event gives me the determination to put everything inside my heart to help win this battle against cancer.

“Great advances in research have happened since my Aunt Bettye had the disease in the sixties and even since my stepfather, Bobby Byrd was diagnosed in 1996 - solid proof that the research is well worth the fundraising campaigns.”

To donate to Carleen’s JustGiving page, visit: http://www.runningsponsorme.org/carleenanderson

To find out more about challenges in aid of Cancer Research UK, visit: www.cancerresearchuk.org/sportchallenges