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Solo Channel swimmer raises more than £3,000 for the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A man from Lyme Regis took on the challenge of swimming the English Channel as a fundraiser for MIND and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), raising more than £7,100 to share between the charities.

Harry Nelson

Harry Nelson

On 9 September, Harry Nelson, 39, completed the mammoth 39km swim across the English Channel finishing in an impressive time of 10 hours and 58 minutes.

For many years Harry viewed swimming the Channel as a monumental achievement, equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. As he turns 40 this year, he decided to put the thousands of hours spent in a swimming pool as a teenager to the test – and take on the challenge.

Throughout his life Harry has always enjoyed the water, he is a keen swimmer, surfer and kite surfer. As someone who spends a lot of time in the sea, Harry has always supported the RNLI.

He said: ‘They volunteer whatever the weather, sea conditions and time of day to keep you and me safe around the UK coastline.’

MIND the mental health charity, was Harry’s other choice to fundraise for and is a charity he holds very close to his heart. Harry sadly lost his older brother Sam in 2020. Sam struggled for years with mental health issues but was always very vocal about the help he received from MIND.

A couple of weeks after completing the huge achievement, Harry said: ‘The aches and pains have now gone and I’m feeling pretty much back to normal. It’s weird not having to think about training or “the swim”, but certainly nice not to have it weighing me down as well.

‘I’m unbelievably grateful for all of the support I’ve received, I take great pride in knowing the money I’ve raised is going to two lifesaving charities.’

Gemma Baker RNLI Community Manager for the Lyme Regis Area said: ‘It cost £188M to run the RNLI’s lifesaving service in 2022. The RNLI relies on donations to function, and without fundraisers like Harry we would not be able to continue saving lives at sea.

‘Every penny and pound the RNLI receives really does count and we’re hugely grateful to Harry for choosing to fundraise for us. All the money he’s raised will go towards saving lives.’

You can still donate towards Harry’s fundraiser by visiting his JustGiving page: Harry's Solo English Channel Swim.

To donate to the RNLI, please visit: Donate to the RNLI and help save lives at sea

Media Contacts

For more information, please contact Anya Walton Media Engagement Placement [email protected] or 07890066217. Alternatively, please contact Emma Haines Regional Media Officer [email protected] or 07786668847.

Harry Nelson

Harry swimming The Channel

RNLI/Anya Walton

Harry setting off at 5:07am from Samphire Hoe near Dover

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.