Holly's big swim - England to France, solo. With a bit of luck

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raised of £4,000 target

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Raising money for MOSAIC - Supporting Bereaved Children and Macmillan Caring Locally


My husband Paul asked me if I prefer the mornings where I get up and put on a swimming costume, or those where I get up and put underwear on (it’s currently around a 5:2 ratio in favour of the swimming costume).

The costume mornings usually involve a stupidly early alarm call, and, usually some form of hideous (admittedly self-inflicted) torture to help me get used to cold, long-distance swimming in sea monster territory.

So my response to my husband’s question revolved around just cursing whoever’s ridiculous suggestion it was that got me into this situation in the first place. And that’s how this story began…

Fast forward to just under two weeks to go and, as most of you now know, I am aiming to swim the 22 miles across the Channel from England to France, weather-and tide-permitting, somewhere between the 11th and 18th July.

Firstly, no, I will not be covered in goose fat (it’s OK, it’s the first question everyone usually asks!). Imagine being in a swimming costume, in the sea, for anywhere between 14 and 20 hours - I'll be more concerned about being covered in enough suntan lotion to protect me from the sun.

Secondly, no, I won’t be wearing a wetsuit. To be officially recognised, the swim must be unaided, and wetsuits add buoyancy - buoyancy adds speed.

‘Unaided’ also means I won’t be able to touch the boat. So no, I won’t be able to get out and have a break.

People say that swimming the Channel is 80% mental strength. I didn’t believe it could possibly be that high but having just completed a ten-hour training swim, (where I cancelled the whole stupid idea in my head because I was cold, I was hating it, and wondering why on earth I thought I could do it) I now see that they have a very valid point! I may also have to swim through the dark, through sewage, and through smacks of jellyfish (my particular Achilles heel for which I’m hoping the hypnotherapy works).

The only reason I didn’t get out and sit on the support boat was because I didn’t want to let down the time and the faith people (my family, my swim-family and my friends) have invested in me.

To keep me focused, I am raising money for two charities:

Macmillan Caring Locally who support people living with cancer. A charity which seems to be, sadly, needed by most of us at some point. For my family, unfortunately, that time is now.

Mosaic Family Support which is a local charity close to my heart that looks after bereaved children following the loss of a parent or other loved one.

The support and care that these charities provide, put my "first-world" swim-problems into perspective. Many of those who are supported by them require incredible mental strength and resilience just to get through their day. All the money raised will go to these two charities.

Less than 2,000 people have ever successfully crossed the English Channel as solo swimmers: I can proudly count a few of that number as my friends and I’d love to be able to add my name to the list.

Your support, along with the desire to raise money for these two charities, will hopefully keep me going and help outweigh the 2,000 or so reasons I may have running through my head telling me to get out!

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About the charities

  • MOSAIC - Supporting Bereaved Children

    RCN 1158138
  • Macmillan Caring Locally

    RCN 1189412

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