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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 16:53 GMT
Early Channel swimmer dies at 97
Sunny Lowry
Sunny Lowry was the 15th person to conquer the English Channel
One of the first English women to swim the Channel has died, aged 97.

Sunny Lowry, who was born in Longsight, Manchester, but lived in Warrington, conquered the 21-mile (34km) stretch on her third attempt on 29 August 1933.

She set off from Cap Gris Nez in France and arrived at St Margaret's Bay near Dover 15 hours 41 minutes later.

Ms Lowry was a great supporter of the restoration of Manchester's Victoria Baths, where she swam as a girl training for her epic swim.

When she finally completed her challenge, she became the 7th woman and the 15th person to swim the Channel.

Ms Lowry was also the President of the Channel Swimming Association from 2000 to 2007 and donated her costume for an exhibition at its Dover headquarters.

Sunny Lowry
She was a great supporter of Victoria Baths

She designed the two-piece costume herself for practicality, and it left an inch of flesh around her midriff.

On one particular training day, a woman who saw her on the beach said: "I'll report you to the police, you are indecent!"

She taught swimming and life saving in Warrington, and along with her husband, Bill Anderson, set up the Pilot Life Saving Scheme following a tragedy on Windermere.

She was awarded the MBE in the 2006 New Year's Honours list for her services to swimming in the North East.

Ms Lowry died at Warrington Hospital on Thursday.

'Deeply saddened'

Her niece, Anne Signol, said: "Sunny was a truly inspirational woman. She was always positive and the word 'no' was never an option to her.

"She touched the lives of so many people, from the thousands of children she taught to swim, to the many friends of Victoria Baths.

"Swimming was her true love and despite losing her sight, she was still dipping into the water even in her 90s," she said.

Gill Wright, project manager at Victoria Baths, said: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Sunny's death.

"We were fully expecting her to be part of our 2008 season and she will be sorely missed by all here at the baths.

"She has been an inspiration to us and will continue to be so."

Baths' restoration work to begin
23 Feb 06 |  Manchester
Baths need 2.5m for restoration
09 Aug 04 |  Manchester
Record breaking OAP swims again
02 Sep 03 |  Merseyside
Baths win 3.4m Restoration final
14 Sep 03 |  TV and Radio


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