A woman whose aunt was brutally murdered by her fiancé will battle her fear of open water to raise money for a domestic abuse charity when she swims through a 40-acre lake today.
Lisa Smith’s aunt, Denise Williamson, 44, was stabbed to death at her home in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire in July 2013.
Denise’s fiancé Geoffrey Hemming, 52, brutally attacked his partner after convincing himself that she was having an affair.
Hemming was sentenced to jail for life after pleading guilty to murder.
Lisa, 39, of Gedling, Nottinghamshire, said the whole family was rocked by her aunt’s death.
She has a fear of open water, and said she nearly died last week after coming off her bike at 30mph.
But she says nothing will stop her and she will still take on the Swim Serpentine in London today to raise money for Equation.
The charity educates children to prevent future domestic violence, teaches professionals how to recognise the signs of abuse, and supports victims.
Lisa said: "My aunt was murdered five years ago. She was everything to me and I’m fundraising to mark the fifth anniversary of her death.
"I came off my bike last week and would have died if I didn’t have my helmet on. My bike was in three pieces. But nothing will stop me doing this," said Lisa.
“I went shaking with fear into Colwick Park Lake 12 months ago. I was fighting back the tears but I did my first outdoor swim.
“My biggest phobia is actually of birds swooping while I swim. If any fly near me while I’m running, then I automatically scream. So the thought of swimming with them is awful."
Lisa will bravely be facing her fear by swimming two miles at Swim Serpentine to earn her London Classics medal.
In September 2017 she told her husband if she could muster the strength to swim in her local lake, just the once, then she would fully commit to swimming in open water.
Lisa previously ran the London Marathon and also launched fundraising events in support of domestic abuse charity Midlands Women’s Aid.
“What started off as me entering just one event has led to me overcoming a major phobia to putting my body through the most it’s ever been through", she added.
“If I can save one family from heartache then I have achieved more than a medal and a phobia conquered.”
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She continued: "The Equation charity do amazing work and go into schools to educate children on domestic violence too.
"We all need to stick together and try to help make sure what happened to my aunt never happens to anyone else.
“While swimming in the open water, I try not to think about the fact I’m in the lake. Instead, I try to concentrate on what I am doing.
"I’m much faster when swimming outside rather than inside and I’m convinced it’s because I just want it over and done with.
"A year ago I didn’t think this was possible to achieve due to being so scared of getting in the water."
To donate to Lisa’s campaign, please follow this link.
If you are experiencing abuse or violence at home, call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 24.
Follow this link to access the Equation website .
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