Sisters to swim the Channel in back garden for Minehead RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Sisters Beth and Sophie Williams are setting out to swim the English Channel – without once leaving their own back garden.

Chris Rundle

Beth and Sophie sitting on the D class lifeboat with family and crew members in 2018

10-year old Beth and 13-year old Sophie are going to swim the equivalent of a 34-kilometre crossing of the Dover Strait while remaining tethered to one end of a three-metre metre pool in the garden of their Bruton, Somerset, home.

And they’re hoping their three-day marathon will bring in at least £300 in sponsorship for Beth’s favourite good cause – Minehead’s RNLI lifeboat station.

Beth – a lifeboat ‘fanatic’ according to her family – has already raised £500 for the station through a sponsored swim and an RNLI event she organised at Bruton Primary School.

Now she’s hoping to increase the tally as a contribution to the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising drive, with she and her sister scheduled to push off from a virtual beach under the White Cliffs on Friday 8 May.

Both girls are keen swimmers and, their father Dave said:

“They’ve worked out precisely how many arm pulls, doing front crawl, are needed to cover 100 metres.

“They’re going to split the distance between them and so will be swimming 17 kilometres each: six kilometres on two days and five on the third. Their mum, Sarah, and I will be logging them closely all the way through - and they can’t wait to get going.”

Minehead RNLI chairman Bryan Stoner said Beth’s dedication to fundraising for the lifeboat service had already brought admiration from the whole crew at Minehead.

“It really is a delight to meet people as young as Beth and Sophie who are so charitable and understand precisely how much effort is involved in the business of saving lives at sea,” he said.

“We wish them both bon voyage – even though they really aren’t going anywhere.”

To support Beth and Sophie go to:

This year, the RNLI's annual Mayday appeal encourages people to fundraise at home to save lives at sea. Visit to find out more about our virtual fundraising events and how you can get involved.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.