It’s the Final Countdown - English Channel swim for Appledore and Clovelly RNLI
This month, June 2021 a relay team of cross channel swimmers from Westward Ho! will swim the English Channel in aid of Appledore and Clovelly RNLI
The Swimbuddies Westward Ho! English Channel Relay Team will be given the go ahead for their swim sometime within their allocated weather window between Tuesday 15 June and Monday 21 June. The pilot will say when to go, and this could happen any time, day or night, during that week. During the swim there are very strict rules the swimmers must adhere to, such as no wearing of wet suits, no touching the boat, and much else.
In their words, here is the team’s story:
‘The charity and the task in hand
‘In appreciation of the admirable work of the RNLI in keeping the North Devon waters safe, Swimbuddies Westward Ho! E.C [English Channel] Relay Team, have self-funded an English Channel crossing aiming to take this opportunity to support the RNLI.
‘The funds will be ring-fenced and evenly shared between Clovelly and Appledore Lifeboat stations.
‘The English Channel rules state you cannot wear a wetsuit, only trunks, goggles and a hat. Whilst swimming you cannot touch the boat.
‘It is well established you swim quicker with a swimming wetsuit, consequently an additional challenge being swimmers having to adapt to cold water acclimatising. Attempting the challenge during June it is likely the water temperature will be below 15c. Success isn’t granted it’s a challenge to be respected; conditions will be choppy and unpredictable.
‘The team have had to adapt training throughout lockdown as pools closed and when open limiting their sessions.
‘Please feel free to share this page /link and if you can spare a pound or two to support the RNLI it will be appreciated 2nd to none.
‘Andrew the team leader, a qualified open water swim coach has a successful E.Channel relay under his belt, being the 1st successful crossing during June 2019, and nearly made it to France as a solo swimmer if it wasn’t for the channel ferries hampering his progress, resulting in his swim being aborted after 15hrs and 34mins of swimming (7 of them throughout darkness). He has been guilty of sowing the seed and recruiting the team recognising their individual strengths, passion, and grit for facing challenges.
‘Saffron, may be the baby of the group, however, she’s a qualified swim teacher, swims like a fish, her youthfulness and zest for swimming in choppy conditions keeps the mature members of the team on their toes.
‘Ian is new to open water swimming, however, he’s "the fast man" of the team committed to the task in hand. He will leave the English shores, swimming the 1st leg from Sapphire Hoe, from then on we rotate on the hour.
‘Sheree has been conquering the cold this winter, being her 1st winter swimming without a wetsuit she has the true making of a future official ice miler in the years ahead.
‘Serena the softly spoken member of the team swims at one pace only, and that’s a few meters ahead of everyone else , in the pool she’ s like a shark her humour will keep the team amused or jumping overboard.
‘Helen having moved to the South coast and discovering open water swimming during 2019 has been going from strength to strength holding her own, always ready for a challenge 2nd to none!
‘We hope you enjoy following our journey and support a well worthy cause -its appreciated 2nd to none!’
The swimmers are team leader Andrew Butler, Saffron Crowther, Ian Curtis, Serena Strickland, Sheree Prouse, and Helen Winterson.
It is now their final countdown! Their English Channel Relay window opens on June 15th. Recently they met at Clovelly as a team for a final swim session as a team. The next time they are all together will be in Dover.
We are raising funds for RNLI Appledore and Clovelly in appreciation for keeping our waters safe!
RNLI spokesman, Niki Tait: ‘Both Clovelly and Appledore RNLI are deeply grateful to all the swimmers undertaking a cross channel swim on our behalf. It is an enormous undertaking with a massive amount of preparation and training, and we could not be more thankful they have chosen us as their charity to raise money for. Most of our normal Fundraising has been curtailed during COVID, but the Swimbuddies Westward Ho! English Channel Relay Team is really pulling all stops out. We wish them calm seas, fair weather and an enormous amount of luck’
In June 2021 the Swimbuddies Westward Ho! English Channel Relay Team will swim the English Channel in aid of Appledore and Clovelly RNLI. This is their last practise session seen swimming into Clovelly. Taken by Alex Hall – Appledore RNLI crew member.
Here's a brief video taken by Appledore RNLI crew member Alex Hall: https://youtu.be/30zlx5a_LM4
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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.