AN air cadet equally at home in water has struck gold after beating swimmers from across the country.
Hannah Parker was awarded two gold medals for her efforts during the Air Training Corps’ national swimming competition.
The 15-year-old, a member of the 1211 Swadlincote squadron, has also been busy away from the pool as part of a bid to raise more than £4,000 for charity.
Miss Parker scooped gold in the individual medley relay, which combined four different swimming styles – butterfly, breast stroke, back stroke and front crawl – and the freestyle relay.
She told the Mail: “ It was a very nerve-racking wait before the races, but the whole team cheered everyone on once the races had started, and the adrenaline took over as I was swimming, which made me more determined and focused on winning.”
In the run-up to her success, Miss Parker did battle against other squadrons from Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, and then at further heats featuring cadets from places such as Buckinghamshire and Suffolk.
A spokesman for the squadron said: “Members of staff and fellow cadets from the squadron are delighted to hear of the news and are very proud of their very own champion – well done Hannah.”
Hannah’s mum, Louise, revealed the youngster was also trying to raise £4,000 for communities in remote areas of the South American rainforest and plans to embark on an expedition to Ecuador in 2015 to work on conservation and community projects.
She has pledged to shave her head if she reaches the target amount. People can donate or follow her progress online at www.gofundme.com/4tugi4
The youngster is also collecting and recycling old mobile phones and empty ink cartridges as part of her fund-raising bid.
Miss Parker added: “I want to go to Ecuador to work on local community projects and conservation projects.
“I’m continuing with some of the things such as bag packing, Avon, recycling etc, but I’m going to shave my head too. Extreme I know, but it will grow back.
“I’ll donate the hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for young children suffering hair loss.”