NHS frontline workers are truly the gift the keep that keep on giving.
After taking care of the nation throughout the coronavirus pandemic and spearheading the vaccination programme in world beating time, you’d think NHS staff would be looking into holiday plans for the summer.
But not junior doctor, Dervla Ireland.
The 25-year-old medic from West Acton has been training to join a relay team of six crossing the English Channel this August.
The crossing which can stretch up to 26 miles long depending on the current, will see Dervla plunged into 15 degree waters as she participates in an hour long leg.
Training for hours a week since June last year and throughout lockdown, the medic was forced to find creative ways to stay fit.
“Pretty much everything was closed,” Dervla told My London.
She added: “I tried to keep fit whatever way I could and get used to the cold. I was cycling to work.
“It was a mixture of doing any training I could then doing cold water acclimatisation. It was horrendous during the worst of coronavirus coming home to a cold shower and bath.”
Dervla said her training techniques also extended as far as borrowing her neighbour’s paddling pool so her housemate could throw cold water on her for 10 minutes.
Once pools opened again, however, Dervla was able to abandon her bath tub training ground for a real pool as well as swimming outdoors in ponds and local reservoirs.
“You chuck yourself in until you can’t feel your face anymore,” Dervla said
Behind Dervla’s Channel swim is an opportunity to raise money for a charity named Aspire, which supports people with life changing spinal injuries.
In addition, Dervla isn’t the first in her family to brave the cold, Jelly fish and currents of the English Channel. Her dad and sister have also taken part in a Channel swim.
“I was ten-years-old when my dad swam the channel and remember being distinctly unimpressed until my mum told me he was in the water from more than 14 hours,” Dervla said.
She added: “But now I see how amazing it is, so now I’m doing it but starting with a relay which is better start for me.”
And whether she’ll beat her sister, Kelly, Dervla said “hands down.”