We are so proud of Claire Atkins! Not only has Claire worked tirelessly for us behind the scenes to help with our new website but Claire has recently taken on – and completed! – the challenge of (tirelessly) swimming the English channel, raising vital funds for the children of Darfur along the way!
It was actually Claire’s Australian cousin Ben who encouraged her to be part of an English Channel relay team. “Hell no!” was her first response, but then Claire quickly remembered she was soon to be 50, and if she didn’t do it now, when would the chance appear again?
A channel relay involves a team (6 in this case) taking it in turns to each swim for an hour, until they cover the 22 miles from Dover to France. At all times the swimmers are accompanied by a boat with an experienced pilot and crew who navigate them through the busy shipping lane!
All the rest of Claire’s team were from Australia so her swim training was carried out remotely with their coach, Mike Gregory, sending weekly programmes to be completed.
The day of their swimming slot arrived – 14th September 2023 – and they all met at the boat at 10.30pm. The team started about 11pm, when the boat went out of the marina and parked up while the first swimmer swam to shore and then started the swim. The challenge was then on to reach Cap Gris Nez in France over the next 14 hours!
In the end, the swim took just 13hrs and 15mins, with most of the team swimming twice, but two of them swimming 3 times!
Claire says, “We’d all done a year of training – mine was mostly on my own in the pool, but I had a number of people spurring me on, and the thought of all the generous donations to inspire me. When it came to do the actual swim I was really grateful we had trained so much as it meant I had faith I could complete it, and it was much more challenging than I’d anticipated. But the swim was one of the best, most challenging and most fun things I have done, mostly due to my amazing teammates Bee Cee, Amanda McKenna, Brendan Cullen, Peta Bradley, and Greg Rolton, brilliant coach Mike Gregory and the great crew of the Sea Leopard Charter.”
So far Claire has managed to raise nearly £2500 to be split between 2 fabulous charities – Hector’s House and Kids for Kids.
It’s not too late to contribute, so please do show Claire your support via this link: https://www.givewheel.com/…/channel-attack-2023…/
Claire says “I’m so grateful that I was able to be part of this experience – something I will never forget. Now for the next challenge…”