At 21:30 this Tuesday 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 23:00 the first swimmers will step into the water and start swimming for France. It will be very dark, very cold and very lonely. 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.
Yes, The Light Fund English Channel Relay Swim Race is ‘Go’ this Tuesday evening – two days earlier than anticipated – and it’s all down to a small weather window in an otherwise unsettled period.
After more than 18 months of relentless training, commitment and preparation, the swimmers are as ready as they can be. 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.
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. This 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.
Simply click on this link from your phone to automatically join free of charge. Your friends and colleagues involved in the swim be thrilled to know that you’re cheering them on. The GPS boat tracker can be found here: http://cspf.co.uk/tracking
And don’t forget – before, during and even after the swim 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 13 September at the Grosvenor on Park Lane.
You can find out more about corporate sponsorship options here. And individuals are very 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.
Event challenge organiser Stephen Gould says: “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. 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. 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. As we battle through guaranteed stress and discomfort, there is no better motivation than an escalating fundraising figure on JustGiving!”
About the Light Fund
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.