We are delighted to share the news that our supporter Graham Walton has completed his Channel swim challenge, in a fantastic time of 11 hours and 50 minutes.
Graham was faced with very difficult swim conditions, as well as having the added mental stress of being the next swimmer in line after a fundraiser sadly passed away during their challenge.
Graham explains “I didn’t have the best preparation hearing the news that a poor soul had died attempting the swim, I was next in line to go across!
The plan was to take it easy, concentrate on technique and ease my way across to France. Starting in a flat sea everything went according to plan, but that only lasted an hour! The sea changed to a very lumpy and unpredictable mess. Technique goes out of the window in these conditions and it becomes a bloody minded, energy sapping slog which was to last for around the next six hours.
As the tide started to turn the surface became more of a rolling swell which is easier to deal with so I thought I would relax back into the swim , until the call came from the boat to get a shift on to gain as much distance as possible in the slack water . I gave what I had but it was tough going after battling the waves for so long .
Towards the end of the swim the sea flattened out which was a huge relief so I could cruise into France at a leisurely pace. Wrong again, the pilot told me I had two hours to get to France on this tide, if I didn’t make it the swim would take an extra three hours waiting for the next tide turn.
A two hour “sprint” finish followed while my amazing support crew shouted encouragement from the boat and alongside me driving me on. I finally landed on the rocks after 11 hours 50 minutes at Cap Gris Nez a channel swimmer .
It hurt all day and still does now, but I’d wager that every person helped by Bright Red would swap places with me in an instant . And that’s why it’s worth it , thank you for the donations they have really driven me on.
A “solo” channel swim sounds like an individual challenge , it really isn’t and would be practically impossible to achieve without a support group of friends and family around you. I can’t thank everyone involved enough for the sacrifices they’ve made over the last couple of years to get me through this. I really couldn’t have done it without them.”
Bright Red’s Charity Manager Ashley Elliott said “What Graham has done is nothing short of amazing. Graham faced a lot of challenges and put his body through a great deal – but he’s completed the swim in a fantastic time and raised a fortune for our charity. He has raised over £5.500 which means we’ll be able to directly help 16 more patients struggling financially. We can never thank him and his team enough.
You can sponsor Graham via his JustGiving page : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Graham-Walton1