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Charity swimmer dies during England-to-France bid

Susan Taylor, 34, died while trying to swim from England to France to raise money for charity.Courtesy Rainbows Children's Hospice

LONDON -- An accountant has died while trying to swim across the English Channel to raise money for two charities.

Susan Taylor, 34, was unable to complete the 21-mile journey between Britain and France, her sister posted on Facebook.

"Whilst attempting to swim the English Channel yesterday my sister, Susan collapsed suddenly in the water,” Taylor's sister wrote. 

Taylor was removed from the water and was treated on a support boat before being airlifted to a hospital in Boulonge, France, but "tragically passed away," her sister added.

Taylor's father, Arthur Wright, said he was “devastated” by her death.

“I've lost the best person in the world. She was just wonderful," the 68-year-old said.

Wright added that her brother David was the paramedic on the support boat and had battled to save his sister’s life. 

“He tried to help. He pulled her onto the boat," he said. Wright said that her husband, who had been Taylor's swimming coach since she was eight, was also on board and had been acting as support swimmer.

Taylor had described the swim across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world as a "challenge tougher than Everest" on her fundraising page.

But she added that she determined to complete the swim, to raise money for Diabetes UK and the Rainbow Children’s Hospice near her home in Barwell, England.

“We are extremely sad to hear of the tragic death,”Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said in a statement. “We have spoken to Susan’s family and offer our support and our heartfelt condolences.”

Geoff Ellis, the chief executive at the hospice, describe Taylor as a "wonderful women who would do anything for anybody."

By early Monday, Taylor had raised a total of about $4230 for the charities. That figure had grown to almost $18,000 by 9:30 a.m. ET.