FREELANCE musician Yvonne Marie Parsons is planning to pull out all the stops by swimming from the Isle of Wight to Bournemouth.

The former Lapal and Leasowes pupil is attempting to raise money for the Royal Society of Musicians to thank them for helping to save her career.

Yvonne, who is an accomplished cellist, will be accompanied on her nine and a half mile epic swim by two fellow musicians when she takes to the water on Sunday September 7.

She said: "The society supported me when I was terribly poorly and without their help, I probably wouldn't be here today."

Yvonne, who is 34 and now based in south east London, was a top class swimmer in her youth and competed for Halesowen Swimming Club, where he father Michael Parsons was a coach.

But at 16 years old, Yvonne suffered from the effects of chlorine poisoning and faced a lengthy battle to beat the illness and contracted glandular fever in the process.

She said: "It must have taken me almost ten years to get on top of the illness. The Society were amazing and paid for me to go abroad to get treatment. I could barely walk at the time, let alone play an instrument!

Yvonne has already repaid their faith, raising over £5,000 for the society when she swam the Solent two years ago and hopes to beat that target this time when she expects to be swimming for four to six hours when covering the distance between Colwell Bay and Hengistbury Head.

After leaving Leasowes, Yvonne attended King Edward VI College in Stourbridge and she was a member of Dudley Metropolitan Brass Band which toured the USA under conductor Trevor Jones.

But it's as a cellist that Yvonne's career has blossomed.

She has featured in a number of West End shows and this summer has performed with the City of London Symphonic and the English National Ballet.

Yvonne added: "It's been a bit of an operatic and ballet fuelled summer, but I do try to play another of my favourite instruments, the French horn, whenever I get the chance."

Anyone who would like to support Yvonne can at