Hastings charity founder swims English Channel to support sick and terminally ill children

Paul Harris Cross Channel Swim. SUS-190708-095422001
Paul Harris Cross Channel Swim. SUS-190708-095422001

A charity worker took on one of the world’s toughest swimming challenges known to raise funds for sick, disabled and terminally-ill children from Hastings and Rother.

Paul Harris, founder of Charity for Kids, set off on Friday August 2 to swim the English Channel - a challenge known as the Everest of Swimming.

Paul was also helping Bexhill resident and Hastings Fire Fighter Chris Mepham who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

The English Channel is probably the worlds most famous long distance swim, 21 miles of water separates Dover to Cap Griz Nez.

It is the World’s busiest Shipping lane seeing over 600 vessels pass through every 24 hours. You are only allowed to wear a swim costume or swimming trunks.

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Paul said: “We arrived in Dover at 11am and met with the Channel Swimming Observer who was their to make sure I stuck to the rules of Channel Swimming. We met the Pilots, as we sailed out we had another 45 minute wait for the boat to leave Dover and go to Samphire Hoe.

“We had a 10 minute warning, shortly after we arrived at the shore, I jumped in swam to the beach and cleared the water, waited for the claxon to sound which indicated the start of my swim.

“My plan was to be focused try to not swim to near the boat as every second counts I had planned to feed on the hour and keep feeds to 30 seconds maximum.

“Sean Collins joined me on the 5th hour, which helped keep me motivated especially as I thought I would be entering the Separation Zone where a lot of the jelly fish tend to be. As I was entering the French Shipping lane I started to see the odd jelly.

“Five minutes later it felt as though they were everywhere, I got the odd sting on the leg, arm, then I felt a stinging going from my face, down my left side of the body, down past my waist all the way down my right leg, a split second later I had the same going down my right hand side, at this point I think my whole body was tingling.

“Around 7 hours, I started to feel the odd chill running through my body.

“Later I was informed by the pilot I had reached the inshore waters (3 miles to France), immediately I felt as though the water went up by a couple of degrees. At this point I knew that I had to give it everything if I wanted to land.

“Unfortunately the tide had turned. I swam as hard as I could for 90 minutes but gained little ground. Then I heard one of the crew saying he could see people on the beach.

“A minutes later that was it, I was guided to steps on Wissant beach.

“As I climbed up the steps there were four locals waiting to greet me, they asked what I was doing and I replied I had just swum from Dover, England to France.”

Their is absolutely no way I would of achieved this without my support crew in Dan Harlott who was amazing and regimented my feeds: Sean Collins, who accompanied me; Ross Garnett who captured my moments taking pictures and offering constructive support and enthusiasm, and Steve Henigan, who accompanied me on my Channel swims. Thanks also to Kim Brown my physio for keeping me injury free.

“I want to thank the public the public, who supported me to help local sick, disabled and terminally-ill children Thank you for supporting me by generously donating. I am so grateful. Finally, thanks to my wife and amazing girls.

If you would like to donate to Paul’s effort, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-harris116.

Are you interested in wwimming the English Channel either as a solo or a relay? If so, contact Paul at Hastings and Rother Triathlon Club www.hartri.co.uk or email info@hartri.co.uk.

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