Published: August 2, 2013
Burnham-On-Sea duo plan to swim across English Channel for charity

Two Burnham-On-Sea ladies are planning to swim the 21 miles of the English Channel in September to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Sarah Bowden, 32, and Lindsay Francis, 32, will attempt to complete the feat in less than 16 hours.

Swift changing tides, some of the heaviest traffic of any waterway in the world, and strong currents will make it a daunting swim.

The pair, who became friends at primary school 25 years ago, hope to raise thousands of pounds for Somerset-based charity Help The Child, which assists children with physical disabilities, learning difficulties and sensory impairment.

The swim is scheduled to take place between September 12th-18th and will be carried out as a relay between Shakespeare Beach in Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France.

"We will swim an hour each then swap over and we aim to complete the whole event in less than 16 hours," Sarah told

"The distance is 21.7 miles, however swimmers normally find they do around 30 miles due to the strong currents."

"We will have to follow strict rules in order to complete the challenge, including being restricted in wearing a standard swim costume, a pair of goggles and a swim cap."

"We will also be using plenty of goose and duck fat to ensure the jellyfish slide off us, rather than sting us. It will also hopefully add a little insulation too since the water temperature varies only between 15°C and 18°C, so it's chilly."

"We also have to hire the services of a support boat with a trained pilot and observer who will verify that we complete the swim under the guidelines of The Channel Swim Association."

Sarah explained that when she was younger she used to be an active member of Burnham-On-Sea Swimming Club, which is where her love of the sport began.

"Once I started my job as a midwife the swimming stopped, but about a year ago I decided to set myself a challenge and it was then that she decided to swim the channel. I had to find someone to swim and immediately thought of Lindsay."

Lindsay is a keen triathlete, so when Sarah asked her to swim with her, she jumped at the chance of being a part of the challenge.

The money raised for Help The Child will provide a boost to children with physical disabilities, enabling the purchase of specialised equipment and educational toys.

To sponsor the pair, see


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