King’s Lynn swimmers cross Channel for Issy

The Wetnosers Channel swimming team are, from left, Rob Howlett, Steven Riches, Max Cumming, Alex Housden, Matthew Evans and Miles Thomas.
The Wetnosers Channel swimming team are, from left, Rob Howlett, Steven Riches, Max Cumming, Alex Housden, Matthew Evans and Miles Thomas.
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Can you imagine swimming at night in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes?

Add to that extreme cold, wild currents and possible jelly fish encounters and you’ve got a challenge with more than a splash of fear factor.

Issy Thomas

Issy Thomas

But that’s just what a team of open water swimmers are taking on when they attempt to cross the English Channel in aid of a children’s charity close to their hearts.

Alex Housden, Matthew Evans, Max Cummings, Miles Thomas, Rob Howlett and Steve Riches, from Lynn, will be swimming the channel on August 14 to raise much-needed funds for PACE, which helps children with celebral palsy and other motor disorders.

Mr Thomas’ daughter Issy has cerebral palsy due to brain damage suffered at birth, and has been receiving support from PACE for the last couple of years.

Mr Housden, whose employer Mars has helped with sponsorship, said: “We have witnessed the progress Issy has made since she has attended PACE and it is breathtaking.

“From not even being able to sit up, she has progressed to the stage where she is now walking upstairs with minimal support.”

The team, who are members of the Wetnosers swimming club, began training in the pool over winter, and moved outside in March.

By April, they had taken their wetsuits off and were swimming in temperatures of just six degrees.

“That was tough, but we are noticing the difference now,” said Mr Evans. “In fact, a group of us went to Dover the other day for the assessed swim, and we felt positively out of place. Everyone else was shivering under their blankets, whereas the Wetnosers contingent were happily standing around in our trunks oblivious to the cold. They must all think we Norfolk folk are a hardy lot!”

Mr Thomas added: “I am extremely thankful the team is swimming to raise money for the charity that helps my daughter. The commitment, dedication and support of the other guys has been tremendous.

“I would also like to express my appreciation to everyone else who has supported us, without which our epic fundraising event simply would not be possible.”

Individuals and businesses wishing to sponsor the team can visit: www.justgiving.com/Wetnosers-Channel-Challenge