A dedicated group of volunteers overcome drama in relay swim to raise over £10k towards sporting opportunities for disabled people

On Tuesday 15th August 2017, SportHeals swam the English Channel, raising an astonishing £10,000 (and counting!) for Disability Sports Coach and the services we provide for disabled people to access sport, all with wet suits strictly forbidden!

SportHeals are a group of individuals who dedicate a huge amount of spare time to raising funds for facilities, services and activities that can be enjoyed by disabled people.

Robbie Gill, Tim Hale, Alan Mitchell, Greg Horton, Neil Ridsdale & Jon Southey formed the Munich Cricket Team Swimming Club team of 6 and all swam one hour legs before rotating, completing the 22 miles in a speedy 12 hours, 54 minutes.

With an early start in the dark at 2.30am in the dark, it wasnt long before the challenge of swimming the English Channel became a reality. Initially, the lead swimmer Robbie had to jump off the boat and swim to the shore to wait for the Captain to give him the 'off'. Robbie had only being swimming for 5 minutes when a small boat appeared out of the dark, with the owner shouting for help. It turned out the boat had hit rocks and Robbie had to pulled out of the water, whilst the boat Captain helped the other boat to safety. Robbie then had to be taken back to the beach to start all over again!

Difficulties arose for two swimmers (Robbie and Greg) on their second stage swims as they had to swim through shoals of jelly fish; but remarkably no one was stung.

After 12 hours 54 mins Robbie reached France and walked up the jetty at Cap Gris Nez jetty to be met by a number of puzzled tourists. As the boat turned back to Blighty, the sea switched from calm to crazy and as they crashed through 12 foot waves, the SportHeals team realised how lucky they had been.

In action: SportHeals take on the English Channel for Disability Sports Coach

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SportHeals team member, Neil Riddle said: "The swim was a brilliant experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Swimming the channel, even as a relay team, seemed to capture everyone's imagination. I am so pleased we decided to obtain sponsorship for Disability Sports Coach and it allowed a lot of our friends, family and colleagues to feel part of our experience. It also helped us justify to ourselves (and our long suffering loved ones) that all the hours committed to training were for a higher purpose and more than just jolly good fun - which of course it was!"

Disability Sports Coach CEO, Peter Ackred said: "Huge congratulations to the SportHeals team for completing an amazing achievement. The funds raised so far is outstanding and will go a long way in supporting our charities objectives of making sure disabled people have the opportunity to be physically active. We're incredibly proud that the Munich Cricket Team Swimming Club took on the challenge for our cause. Well done guys and a massive thanks from all at Disability Sports Coach!"

Feeling Inspired? Donate or take on a challenge today

Munich Cricket Team Swimming Club have completed the challenge, but their page is still open for donations. Each individual swimmer is hoping to raise £2000 – a team total of £12,000 that could finance two Community Clubs for disabled people for a whole year, including facilities, equipment and competitions.

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Whether you want to take on a challenge, throw a cake sale or simply donate to raise funds there is a way for you to get involved - click here to get started.