Swimmer who lost her life identified

A woman who tragically died after being swept into a groyne while on a Christmas day paddle has been named as 50-year-old Frances McKeown.

She was out at sea with a group of friends at around 10.45am on Christmas Day when the accident happened.

Mrs McKeown, of Bexleigh Avenue, St Leonards, worked for Hastings Voluntary Action and was well-known and respected in town.

Firefighters brought her onto the beach after she sustained head injuries.

They tried to resuscitate her and paramedics took her to the Conquest Hospital where she sadly died just before 8pm on the evening of the same day.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances, with Mrs McKeown’s death being treated as a tragic accident.

The coroner’s officer is continuing enquiries and a postmortem is likely to take place within the next week.

Mrs McKeown was with a group of friends who had been planning to take part in an organised charity swim, but that had been called off by the organisers earlier during the morning because of the adverse sea conditions.

The rest of the group did not enter the sea with her.

The Observer intends to run a tribute story from family and friends for this Friday’s edition. Contact Richard Gladstone on 01424 856786 or email him at richard.gladstone@jpress.co.uk.