A PARALYMPIAN is urging budding swimmers to take the plunge for charity.

Gold medallist Bethany Firth is calling on people across the county to sign up for Swimathon 2020.

The sponsored fundraiser is raising money for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie and takes place at a string of venues, including Clacton Leisure Centre and Walton Lifestyles.

Bethany clinched three gold medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and a gold at the London 2012 Paralympics.

She is set to go for glory at the Tokyo Paralympics this August.

Bethany took time out from training to support Swimathon, inspired by mum Lindsey, who is recovering from thyroid cancer.

The Paralympian said: “It was a terrible shock when mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. She has been such a source of strength and support for me throughout my life and career.

“It was a very difficult time but thankfully her treatment was successful and I’m so grateful that she’s getting back to full health.

“My mum’s experience means our family understand all too clearly why events such as Swimathon are so vital to support the work of charities like Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.”

Swimathon offers a challenge for everyone, with distances from 400m.

The national event takes place over the weekend of March 27-29.

If swimmers can’t make one of the organised sessions, they can sign up to MySwimathon, which takes place from March 20 to April 5, and choose a time and venue which suits them.

To sign up, visit swimathon.org.