Daughter taking the plunge in mum's memory

Rachel Dickinson (right) and mum Debra Cooper.

Rachel Dickinson (right) and mum Debra Cooper. - Credit: Rachel Dickinson

A determined daughter has vowed to complete an epic charity swim in her mother's memory.

London Colney born and bred Rachel Dickinson, 34, will be completing the Macmillan Swim It challenge, completing the equivalent of a cross-Channel swim over the course of July, to raise money for the cancer charity.

Her efforts are to remember mum Debra Cooper, who died from ovarian cancer at the age of 52 just 10 days after being diagnosed with the disease.

Rachel Dickinson (right) and mum Debra Cooper.

Rachel Dickinson (right) and mum Debra Cooper. - Credit: Rachel Dickinson

Debra was a teaching assistant in London Colney and St Albans at schools including Bowmansgreen, Samuel Ryder and St Bernadette’s, and well known by the many teachers, parents and pupils who crossed her path.

Rachel, who works in adult social care in London, explained: "My mum was a truly special woman - specialising in working with kids who many others had given up on. My mum didn’t give up on anyone, and even in her final days she had the staff in hysterics! Some of the nurses even chose to sit with her on their lunch break. She really was an inspiration and a ray of sunshine to all that knew her.

"The Macmillan nurses at the hospital really were truly fantastic. They held our hands every step of the way, answered every stupid question and made my mum smile. They made sure she was comfortable and took the time to reassure us all."

Rachel now lives in Northampton, but grew up in London Colney, where most of her family still live.

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She explained: "I have recently started open water swimming and I will be trying to log some of the miles in open water conditions, including adverse weather! My happiest memories of my mum are in the water and swimming - I’m doing this in her name, and to help families like ours!

Rachel's happiest memories are of her mum in the water.

Rachel's happiest memories are of her mum in the water. - Credit: Rachel Dickinson

"My biggest worry is the British weather! I know I’ll be doing some of these miles in the pouring rain!"

Money raised from her efforts will help Macmillan offer more financial grants, hire more nurses and extend the hours of their support line.

You can support Rachel's efforts at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/in-memory-of-debra-cooper