Female sporting pioneer Mercedes Gleitze who became the first British woman to swim the Channel in 1927 will be remembered with a blue plaque on her home in Brighton
Mercedes Gleitze became the first Brighton woman to swim the English Channel on her eighth attempt in 1927.
In the same year she went on to become the first person to swim the Strait of Gibraltar, the Dardanelles and all around the Isle of Man.
By the time of her retirement in 1932 her record for endurance swimming was 46 hours.
Mercedes Gleitze became the first Brighton woman to swim the English Channel on her eighth attempt in 1927
After her triumph in 1927, calls of a hoax forced her to attempt a ‘vindication swim’ months later that had to be abandoned because of extreme cold
A blue plaque dedicated to Ms Gleitze has been unveiled outside her former home in Brighton
Members of the cast of Vindication Swim, a film based on her life, were there to see the unveiling of the plaque
Actress Kirsten Callaghan (centre) who plays Mercedes in the film visited the unveiling along side Director Elliot Hasler (left) and actor John Locke (right)
Mercedes Gleitze (centre) with Lord Riddell (to her right) at Charing Cross railway station, London, after her successful swim across the English Channel
Ms Gleitze’s legacy is experiencing a surge of interest with a new film about her exploits in the works.
Members of the cast and crew of Vindication Swim attended the blue plaque unveiling in Brighton today.
Attending the ceremony were actor Kirsten Callaghan, who portrays Mercedes in the film, and actor John Locke, who has started in The Darkest Hour and the Favourite.
A spokesman for filmmakers, Relash productions, said: ‘Celebrity icon of the 1920s, the name Mercedes Gleitze has faded from public consciousness, but it is hoped that the blue plaque, along with the upcoming feature-length biopic depicting the events surrounding her 1927 swim, will rejuvenate her status as a female sporting trailblazer.’
After her retirement she raised three children and died aged 80 in February 1981 in a hospital in London.
Mercedes Gleitze (centre) with her husband Patrick Carey, at St Paul’s Church, Dover after their wedding, 9th August 1930
Mercedes Gleitze on her way to Gibraltar in 1927 where she would complete her attempt to cross the Channel
Ms Gleitze kept her exploits a secret from her children after her retirement from swimming
She even kept her glittering sporting career a secret from her own children and grandchildren.
Ms Gleitze was a pioneer in female sport carrying out feats of strength and stamina thought to be the preserve of men.
In 1927, on her eighth attempt, she became the first Brighton woman to swim the English Channel in a gruelling 15 hours and 15 minutes.