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Light Fund Swimmers To Launch Channel Relay Swim Tomorrow

Hardy volunteers with the licensing charity the Light Fund will dive into the English Channel tomorrow and start swimming for France.

There are two teams taking part in the daunting swim. At 9:30 p.m. Greenwich time on June 28 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 11:00 p.m. the first swimmers will step into the water and start swimming for France.

“It will be very dark, very cold and very lonely,” said spokesperson Sian Dorrington. “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.”

The Light (Licensing Industry Giving Help Together) Fund was born when a group of like-minded people from the UK licensing industry came up with the idea to form a committee to help those less fortunate than themselves.

The Light Fund is a registered charity, which raises monies to fund worthwhile charity projects that help children, women and men. Since its inception, back in 2004, The Light Fund has raised over £1.7 million and funded hundreds of different charity projects.

The Channel Relay Swim Race was originally scheduled to be run two days later, but Dorrington says it was moved up due to a short weather window offering favorable conditions in a period of otherwise unsettled weather.

The swim has been a long time coming, as the swimmers have spent 18 months training for this arduous event.

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.

“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,” said organizer and Team High Hopes captain Stephen Gould. “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.”

Dorrington says viewers can actually watch the entire event online. 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.

That means you will not only be able to see and hear real-time action and film footage from the swim but also be able to encourage the swimmers with supportive messages, Dorrington explained.

This year the Light Fund is raising money to help build rescue boats for the British coastline; a vital service in the often rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There are still many opportunities to help The Light Fund reach its target of £250,000 for this fundraiser as well, of course, as 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.

Those interested can find out more about corporate sponsorship options here, and individuals are also welcome to donate via the event’s Just Giving page, where you 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.

“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,” said Gould. “As we battle through guaranteed stress and discomfort, there is no better motivation than an escalating fundraising figure on JustGiving!”

 


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