Last September I swam a channel relay to raise money for Aspire – motivated by the courage and stamina of my friend Rache Dougherty, who was paralysed by a spinal illness; I was coached by my friend Russ Ward, with weekly torturous swim drills.
On the day of the swim it all began well, – the sun shining, the sea calm. But three miles before we reached France, the swell swelled, the waves thrashed, and the pilot aborted the swim.
Days later, Rache unexpectedly died. The disappointment of the channel evaporated. Rache, my closest friend since childhood, a constant inspiration to me – her death seemed inconceivable.
The following week, Russ had a sudden heart attack and also died. My motivator for three years, coaching me first to swim the Solent and then the Channel. The combination of losing both friends felt like the world had ended.
This swim is in memory of these cherished friends. Both Rache and Russ were keen nurturers of children and young people, especially those who have suffered difficult circumstances. Every penny I raise will go towards supporting young asylum seekers who have had to flee their homes.
Please sponsor me if you can.