NEWS

Good weather window results in early start for Light Fund Charity Swim

Published on: 27th June 2022

A brief gap in a period of unsettled weather means the Light Fund charity Channel swim is now on for tomorrow, Tuesday 28th June. 

The Light Fund English Channel Relay Swim Race is ‘go’ for tomorrow evening, 28th June – two days earlier than anticipated – and it’s all down to a small weather window in an otherwise unsettled period.

At 9.30pm tomorrow, the two teams taking part in this year’s Light Fund English Channel Relay fundraiser will meet their boat pilots at Dover marina and at 11pm the first swimmers will step into the water and start swimming for France. Some 15 to 24-plus hours later – tides, currents and any other eventuality permitting – the final swimmer in each team will hopefully reach the French coast somewhere between Calais and Boulogne.

After more than 18 months of relentless training, commitment and preparation, the swimmers are as ready as they can be. Final team selections have now also been made. Team Optimist comprises Ian Down (captain), Eion Wallace, Katie Price, Jason Goonery, Mark Bezodis, Kevin Langstaff and reserve Tasmyn Knight. Team High Hopes comprises Stephen Gould (captain), Mark Kingston, Rhys Fleming, Anna Hewitt, Anne Bradford, Simon Gresswell and reserve Terry Lamb.

This year, supporters can watch the efforts of the intrepid swimmers from the comfort of their own homes. The Light Fund has set up a WhatsApp group with an additional link to the boat tracker set up by the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation (CS&PF), the governing body for English Channel swimming. Viewers will not only be able to see and hear real-time action and film footage from the swim but can also encourage the swimmers with supportive messages. Those wishing to view the swim and support this year’s fundraisers can click this link from their phone to automatically join the chat free of charge, while the GPS boat tracker can be found here.

Before, during and even after the swim there are many other opportunities to help The Light Fund reach its target of £250,000. There are also chances for corporate sponsors to be namechecked in the challenge event film presentation at the 2022 Licensing Awards on 13th September at the Grosvenor on Park Lane. Readers can find out more about corporate sponsorship options here.

Individuals are welcome to donate via the event’s Just Giving page, where they can also review the teams’ preparation for the big day. There are also an Instagram feed and a Facebook page containing team photos and updates.

Event challenge organiser Stephen Gould says: “Despite the demands of work and family, interruptions from stomach bugs and Covid, everyday stuff like repetitive strain injury and even domestic accidents, which means one swimmer with a burn-blistered hand, we have trained diligently for months and we’re as ready as we’re going to be. It won’t be easy reconciling the cold, dark, pollution, Channel traffic and seasickness with a cramped open-deck boat in this notorious stretch of water, but we’ll be buoyed up by the amazing support we have received and will no doubt continue to receive from our friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Thanks again, and please remember that the best way to cheer us on in this arduous ordeal is to donate – no matter how seemingly small or insignificant the sum. As we battle through guaranteed stress and discomfort, there is no better motivation than an escalating fundraising figure on JustGiving.”

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