Betty, 88, ploughs on with fundraising feats despite cancer blow

Betty Brown was one of the olympic torch-bearers. Picture: James Bass

Betty Brown was an Olympic torchbearer in the 2012 Olympics and is still taking forward the spirit of the games with her latest swimming challenge for Captain Tom. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2012

An 88-year-old paralysed by polio is undertaking a charity swimming feat in a bid to conquer cancer.

Betty Brown, from Scratby, who is known for her fundraising adventures was handed the bombshell diagnosis in May last year, but is carrying on regardless as she has always done.

Betty Brown from Scratby at the Phoenix Swimming Pool Bradwell Norfolk

Disabled Betty Brown, 88, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity over some 50 years and is not shrinking from her latest challenge despite having cancer. - Credit: supplied by Lynn Hewett

A former deputy head at Greenacre Primary School in Great Yarmouth, Mrs Brown contracted polio aged 18 while at PE college in Leicester.

It meant six months in hospital including a period in a dreaded iron lung, but on returning to Great Yarmouth her former swimming coach tipped her in the pool and told her to get on with it, despite no longer having the use of her legs.

Betty Brown goes in a hot air balloon in Stroud that was specially adapted to take a wheelchair.

Betty Brown goes in a hot air balloon in Stroud that was specially adapted to take a wheelchair. - Credit: Archant

Seventy years later she has not lost her love of the water, and can swim a mile faster than anyone else in the country in her age group.

"Being diagnosed with cancer was a blow," she said.


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"It is inoperable and there is no treatment.

"I have good days and bad days and on the good days I enjoy my life.

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"I could live for quite a while and I am going to do all I can to raise money because the charities need it.

"I have conquered polio and now I will conquer cancer."

Daredevil Betty Brown of Scratby

Betty Brown, is chairman of the Marina Centre Physically Disabled Swimming Club and is achieving her latest feat 'against the odds' according to club secretary Lynn Hewett. - Credit: supplied by Lynn Hewett

Her latest feat is for the Captain Tom 100 challenge and sees her swimming 100 lengths of the Phoenix Pool in Bradwell on successive Saturdays.

Having not been in the pool for two years her initial target was to complete a 100m swim.

Now she has decided to aim for 100 lengths, 2,500m.

During the lockdown she raised £1,600 for Marie Curie doing laps of her garden.

Mrs Brown, who has been raising funds for various charities since the 1970s, said she loved a challenge having sailed on tall ships, ridden in a hot air balloon, and flown in a wind tunnel.

Betty Brown fundraising feat despite polio and cancer

Betty Brown prepares to take the plunge for Marie Curie. The 88-year-old is determined to raise as much as she despite being disabled through polio and having inoperable cancer. - Credit: Supplied by Lynn Hewett

Marie Curie was a very deserving charity, she said, and she had been touched to receive a hand-written letter thanking her for her fundraising efforts and saying: "You were here for us, now we are here for you."

To sponsor Betty search Betty Brown on the Just Giving website.

Torchbearer Betty Brown carries the Olympic flame through Filby. Picture: Denise Bradley

Torchbearer Betty Brown carries the Olympic flame through Filby. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012


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