Relay Cross Channel Swim for the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre
Event: Helen and James's fundraising
£7,756.85 raised of £5,000.00 target
£7,756.85 raised so far
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WE DID IT!!We set off from Dover Harbour at 3.30 am on Mon 2nd August and 13 long hours and 7 minutes later we reached the French Coast.
After only a couple of hours sleep we left our base in Deal to meet Reg our pilot at Dover, and then set off into the night for what was to be both the most dreadful and the very best of days! It was cold, it was dark, the wind was strong and the waves were tossing our pilot boat the Viking Princess around as Sue leapt from the boat to swim back to Shakespeare Beach to get things underway.
The first few hours were grim. Our pilot kept updating us on the progress (or lack of) of other Channel hopefuls who had also set off on that morning’s high tide. After the 4 boat turned back we began to have serious doubts as to whether we would be able to continue. The sky was grey, the wind brisk, the air temperature only 15C making the cold a big threat and those awful, awful waves…...!!
Spirits started to lift on board as we all completed our first swims, the anti-sickness tablets started to work and most importantly the sun came out! Settling into our rhythm the mood on the boat changed and we knew we could make it. Even the jelly fish, the shipping lanes and news from our pilot that after a slow first half we were likely to be swimming for 16-17 hrs couldn’t dampen our spirits.
A tremendous effort on everyone’s part then saw us surging ahead and when we reached to marker buoy 3 miles from France we knew that the end was near. As Kate prepared to get into the water for her 3 swim we knew that this would be the one to take Team Lynda Jackson home- truly a dream fulfilled!
Not surprisingly the return trip was altogether a more jolly affair, the champagne corks popped and the bubbles continued to flow until we collapsed back into our beds almost 24 hours after leaving them. The following day we visited the White Horse pub in Dover (not for more champagne!) but to add our swim to the informal records kept on the pub walls since the earliest crossings were made (picture left).
At the time of writing, our sponsorship total stands at around our £5000 target, but with more money promised we know that we will comfortably pass this. For all of us completing the swim was a personal triumph, facing challenges which turned out to be so much greater than we had anticipated, but also we are grateful that our effort has raised much needed money to help people facing a very different type of challenge but one every bit as daunting.
Many thanks to all of our supporters whose generosity has made the whole venture worthwhile.
Sue, Kate, Katie, Alex, Charlotte and Helen.
Thanks for taking the time to visit our JustGiving page- Click here to meet the team
(make sure your speakers are on and click on the "autoplay" button bottom left when screen comes up!), and here're a few more team pics of us having a good time! We have a facebook group, which we'd be delighted if you would join.
We are six swimmers who will cross the Channel from England to France one day during the first week of August 2010. Our pilot boat is booked but exactly when we set off depends on the weather and water conditions. According to the rules of the Channel Swim Association we will swim in rotation for an hour at a time until we reach France, which will take anything from 6hrs 52 mins (the Channel relay world record held by US National Swim team so probably not!), to 20 hrs (the slowest relay time on record, so hopefully not!). Also according to the rules, we are NOT allowed to wear wetsuits or these very smart, go-faster, stay warmer swimming costumes with long arms and legs. For the ladies the order of the day is sleeveless and legless costumes, and for Alex ordinary trunks. Brrrrr! In summary, we will have the distance, the cold, polluted water, swimming in the dark, sea-sickness, shipping lanes and shoals of jelly fish to contend with, rather begging the question- WHY?
Two reasons, firstly and most importantly to raise money for the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre (LJMC) at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre. Opened in 1993 the LJMC provides support and information to people affected by cancer. The services include providing accurate and up to date information about cancer and its treatment, complementary therapies to help relieve the stresses of living with cancer, counselling to help come to terms with a diagnosis of cancer and finally funding research into supportive care and quality of life issues.
Each year, the centre receives approximately 15,000 requests for help, but is only partially funded by the NHS and the rest of the money (£150,000 per year) needed to meet these requests comes from voluntary donations and fundraising activities-like our swim.
The other reason is that we all love a challenge and the sense of achievement we will feel when we reach the French beach will make all the training, preparation and the demands of the swim itself worthwhile.
Sue is the driving force behind the swim-basically its her fault we’re doing it! A talented club and county swimmer in her youth, it’s been a lifelong ambition of hers to swim the Channel, but work, family etc have made a solo attempt impractical. Discovering you could swim the channel as a relay last year spurred her on, and in very short order she signed up Charlotte (Sue’s daughter who’s in 6th form and clearly inherited her mum’s superior swimming genes), Helen (more at home on a bike than in the water,but trying hard), Katie (Helen’s daughter, 3rd yr uni student with an impressive ability to motor up and down effortlessly in the pool), Kate (uni triathlon club president who we’ll be relying on to put in some pretty big swims!) and last but by no means least Alex (the third of our Norwich trio who has been to some pretty inhospitable parts of the world to do some very extreme things- our secret weapon!).
2 weeks to go.... the last week of proper training has meant lots of trips down to Dover Harbour to get in as much sea swimming as we can. Our Norwich trio have been somewhat distracted by exams, so haven't been able to get down there so much, but with youth and talent on their side we're confident they'll rise to the occasion when needed. Sue, Charlotte and Helen are wholeheartedly sick of the M25 and M20, but the weather, swimming and sunbathing has been good. Pleased to report that the Lynda Jackson Channel Swim caps have now arrived, so we've been cutting quite a dash in training. We're keeping a close eye on the Met Office forecasts for the next 2 weeks, as the weather will make such a difference to the success and enjoyment of the swim- we're optimistic that the jet stream will move back north leaving a nice high pressure squarely over Dover and the Channel!
Thanks again to all our supporters both with sponsorship and words of encouragement. A special thank you to Sue's mum- Mary Groves- and her sterling efforts on our behalf whipping up support down in St Albans and environs. A final thanks also to our long-suffering families for putting up with the disruption to normal life the swim preparations have caused over the last 18 months. The end is in sight!
3 weeks to go.. it's hard to believe that after 18 months in the planning D day is almost upon us! 3 weeks from now we'll be down at Deal waiting for the call that the conditions are OK and we're good to go. All pretty scarey, but we think we're ready! Preparation has had some high and low points-this week's low point definitely being the arrival of the customised swimming caps. The hawk eyed amongst you will have spotted the typo on Kate's hat in the photo. We find we are doing the Chanel Swim 2010 (No 5 plus 1 we assume). The high point however was this weekend's training trip to Dover. Fielding a full team, we found the sun shining, the water almost warm (Ok let's be honest,less cold!) and met up with Richard who has taken some great pictures. Team Lynda Jackson are looking good!!
6 weeks to go... it's all getting very close now, and training is moving up a notch! We all did the Great east swim yesterday (with our intrepid Norwich trio braving the elements and not wearing wet suits!) and despite the wind and rain put in some pretty impressive times. Our three younger bathing belles stormed home taking only 5 mins longer than the Elite Ladies winner. Way to go girls! Sue and Alex were in hot pursuit with Helen finishing a couple of minutes behind them (not so bad for an old woman!). The wind was gusting up to 20mph so we got a good idea of what its like to swim in choppy water -horrid! Good practice for the channel though.
Last weekend's trip to Dover was an experience- 45 mins in 14C water was not as bad as we'd expected- but the cold water induced vertigo and peripheral paraesthesia when we got out was interesting! Can't wait til next week when we'll be back for a second dunking... We keep hoping that summer will finally arrive and get the water warmed up a bit- something along the lines of 1976 (for those old enough to remember it) would do nicely.
Thanks again to our many sponsors-we're slowly getting there.
8 weeks to go.... and we've moved to the next phase of training which involves swimming in horrid cold outdoor water rather than lovely warm indoor pools! We need to get acclimatised to the temperatures we'll face in the channel-likely to be 15-17 C. We had a trip to the 100yd unheated (19C), open air pool in Cambridge to have a filmed session with a coach from the cross channel swimming association. The driving rain on the day meant that we had the pool almost to ourselves. After all who in their right mind would be swimming outdoors in a storm?! We all got some individual top tips on technique to work on to make us more efficient in the water-very important for a channel swim-and a DVD as a permanent record of our personal flaws and inadequacies! Being real gluttons for punishment, Sue and Helen then followed this up with more filming and technique instruction in Milton Lake the following day. Very different swimming in a lake to a pool- not least having to fight your way through thick weed, and not having a line on the bottom to follow to make sure you swim in a straight line!
Next week is the Great East Swim in Ipswich but before that we have our first trip to Dover Harbour planned for tomorrow. Fingers crossed for some sunshine. We'll be seeking the advice of Freda Streeter aka 'The Channel General' who is a veteran of channel swimming and sits on Dover beach all weekend offering advice and guidance to all channel hopefuls.
Thanks again to all our sponsors and supporters- our total is climbing nicely towards our £5000 goal, but still a way to go. Particular thanks to Sue and Helen's colleagues who attended an educational evening with sponsorship from Schering Plough and Ramsey Health. They all kindly feigned interest in our subject- sub dermal implants- bought our 'Conquer the Channel' Chutney and added their names to our sponsor forms. Many thanks to everyone for supporting the work of the Lynda Jackson Centre.
13 weeks to go ... and we think training's on track. We're all clocking up the kilometres in the pool, and our intrepid Norwich trio will take to the icey open waters of the broads later this week for their first outdoor training session of the year. Good luck to them! Meanwhile the Letchworth ladies have not been idle, and all took part in the 5km Swimathon at Royston pool. A storming performance by Sue who left the field standing (metaphorically!) to finish first of all the Swimathon entrants. Closely followed by Charlotte, they both finished in a hugely impressive sub 1hr 40. Helen was last out the water (again!), but pleased to have shaved 28 mins off last year's time. Good to see all the hours spent in the pool since then paying dividends. Away from the training, a big thank you must go to Mr Richard (Dick to his old friends) Broom, photographer to the stars, who is single handedly trying to make sure the whole world hears about our swim. Hopefully his efforts in cyberspace will raise not just awareness of the work of the Lynda Jackson Centre, but also some hard cash! Once his initial misunderstanding that we were 6 mad women was corrected, and that one of us is in fact a bloke there's been no stopping his efforts on our behalf! Here are some more photos from our weekend away that Dick has put together in a rather more professional way. And here's a final nomad link to embarrass Katie-wasn't she a sweet little thing! Dick has promised/threatend to bring a gang of fellow paparrazzi to take some shots of us at the great east swim. Watch this space..
Having survived the activities, we headed off to Sprowston Manor and a magnum of champagne (thank you Tricia and Ashley) which set the tone for the rest of the evening. It was the first time we had all met each other, so quite a relief to find we are, without exception, all such lovely people! We're looking forward to May when we can start some serious outdoor swimming to get acclimatised to the cold and used to swimming in salt water with waves. Lots of Team Trips to Dover Harbour already penciled into the diary.
Great excitement today has been the long awaited arrival of the application forms to formally apply to do the swim. We’re optimistic that the two old ladies of the team will pass their medicals with the same flying colours as the youngsters. Expect vocal complaints to our respective GPs if not. LOL.
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Raising money for
Charity Registration No. 1053338
The Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre supports people affected by cancer. At the drop-in centre at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, people will find a friendly face, a listening ear and answers to their questions about cancer and its treatments. Services also include complementary therapies and counselling.
Good luck Helen and friends. I'm sure this will be a challenge you will all talk about for many years to come. Great effort for a very worthy cause.
Donation by Andrew Hartley on 17/03/10
+ £5.64 Gift Aid
Dear Helen and Team Having heard how much work you have put in there is no need for luck. Hope you enjoy it
Donation by Nihal Shah on 09/03/10
+ £28.21 Gift Aid
Another demanding challenge for a worthy cause. Hope the weather will be kind and best of luck to al
Donation by Anne and Brian on 01/03/10
+ £56.41 Gift Aid
Good luck Helen and friends. I'm very impressed (and happy I am not involved in this one). Love Ellie Macmillan xxx
Donation by Eleanor Whitfield on 27/01/10
+ £5.64 Gift Aid
I'm sure, being the perfect woman, that you will float well too!
Donation by Colin Thomas on 06/01/10
+ £14.10 Gift Aid
- * Online donations£4,241.00
- Offline donations£3,515.85
- Text donations£0.00
- Total raised£7,756.85
- Gift Aid£986.05
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