Cash pours in after Channel tragedy
Donations have poured in for a charity swimmer who died while attempting to cross the English Channel.
Susan Taylor, 34, collapsed just one mile from the French coast as she swam under the guidance of the Channel Swimming Association, which officially authorises attempts, on Sunday.
She was pulled from the water and on to a support boat by her brother David, a paramedic, who battled to save her life before she was taken to hospital in nearby Boulogne-sur-Mer, where she was later pronounced dead. Her husband Stephen was also on board as attempts were made to resuscitate his wife, her family said.
More than 2,000 people have now donated to Mrs Taylor's fund-raising page as the current total raised soared to more than £35,500.
Comedian David Walliams - who swam the Channel in 2006 - is believed to have pledged £1,000 after a donation was made under the name of the Little Britain star with the message "Sending all my love to Susan's family and friends". Walliams tweeted later: "Despite the shock & sadness, it's good to see heroic Susan Taylor's charity total rising. Please give what you can..."
Mrs Taylor had reportedly written in a blog post her ambition to follow in Walliams' footsteps by swimming the Channel. "I've had an ambition to follow in comedian David Walliams's strokes and swim the Channel since I was a child," she wrote.
Speaking from the family home in Barwell, Leicestershire, Arthur Wright, Mrs Taylor's father, revealed that his son had battled to save her life and that her husband Stephen was also on the boat. He said: "David was with her and he was the paramedic, he tried to help. He pulled her on to the boat." Mr Wright, 68, added: "I'm devastated. I've lost the best person in the world. She was just wonderful."
Mrs Taylor had given up her full-time job to carry out charitable work and was working part-time as an accountant, her father said. She had also done wing-walking and a parachute jump, and was a qualified rally driver.
Mr Wright said he had been told the accident happened during the last leg of the swim, which Mrs Taylor had spent 18 months training for.
The charities which Mrs Taylor was raising money for also paid tribute to her. Geoff Ellis, chief executive at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, said: "Susan was a wonderful woman who would do anything for anybody. She has been a much loved ambassador at Rainbows for over two years, helping out at events and tirelessly fund raising for us. She was more than an ambassador; she was part of the Rainbows family."