A TAUNTON teacher who was diagnosed with a brain tumour has taken part in a 1.5 mile swim from an American prison back to land.

Lucy Turner, 43, from Halse, a village near Taunton, took part in the annual event named Sharkfest which saw 900 competitors swim from former high-security prison Alcatraz back to the San Francisco Bay on the anniversary of the Anglin brothers’ escape in 1962.

Miss Turner, head of leisure studies, signed up to the event in 2015 in order to raise money for charity Young Epilepsy, as her son has severe epilepsy.

But in 2016, she had to defer her swim after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in September and underwent a 13-hour operation to remove most of it.

A few months later, her son had major brain surgery because of his epilepsy.

Undeterred, the teacher decided to take the plunge on June 4, and chose to raise money for Brain Tumour Support as well.

She said: “It was an amazing experience to do this swim and raise money for charities so meaningful to me. I have raised £1,700 so far and more is still coming in. I’m very thankful to Hamish McCarthy from Taunton School Long Distance Swimming Club who helped me prepare for the event. I trained as much as I could at Lyme Bay in Dorset, Hope Cove Bay in Devon and Clevedon open pool.”

Miss Turner was one of 138 that went without a wetsuit, she came in second in her age group with a time of 54 minutes.

The course is monitored by lifeguards and a “shark watch” team.

Miss Turner added: “I was told that a leopard shark was spotted in the bay the day before the race, but I felt safe doing the swim, and I’m very glad to say I have “Escaped from Alcatraz”."