Tributes are being paid to Grimsby-born Brenda Fisher, the world-record breaking swimmer, who has passed away at the age of 95.
The Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Cllr Steve Beasant, has led the civic tribute: “My sympathies go out to Brenda’s family and friends at this terribly sad time.
“As well as being able to award Brenda the Freedom of the Borough, we had the honour of being part of marking her significant achievements and backing the Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District Civic Society’s bid to get a Blue Plaque erected in Brenda’s honour and give the wonderful lady the recognition she so very much deserved.”
Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Philip Jackson, paid tribute to Brenda, saying she was an inspiration to many people. “Brenda not only had some incredible achievements in her lifetime, but also helped to raise the profile of her home town across the world. My thoughts and sympathies are with Brenda’s family and friends at this time.”
In 2017, Brenda Fisher was honoured with the unveiling of a Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District Civic Society blue plaque at the Fishing Heritage Centre to mark her amazing swimming achievements over the years.
Born in 1927 in Scartho, Brenda is the daughter of a Grimsby trawler skipper and learned to swim at the age of nine including using the open waters of Alexandra Dock to practice in.
In August 1951, she broke the women’s world record for swimming the English Channel. Sponsored by the Daily Mail, the swim took 12hrs 42 minutes, breaking the previous record of 13hrs 20mins set the year before. Her homecoming reputedly saw crowds of more than 20,000 people welcome her back to the town. For her channel swim, Brenda received £1000 and a silver cup offered by Eva Peron – wife of the then Argentine Republic’s President.
In later years, Brenda went on to swim the channel again, and later won the 29-mile River Nile Swim and became only the third person in history to complete the 32-mile Lake Ontario swim.