Published: September 22, 2013
Burnham-On-Sea pair complete charity swim across English Channel

Two Burnham-On-Sea ladies have this weekend completed a swim across the English Channel, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Sarah Bowden, 32, and Lindsay Francis, 32, set off at midnight on Friday (September 20th) to attempt the feat in less than 16 hours.

They left Dover just after midnight and, after 14 hours and 55 minutes, successfully completed their swim at 3.05pm on Saturday afternoon.

The swim took place between Shakespeare Beach in Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France and the pair swam an hour each before swapping over.

While the distance between the shores is 21.7 miles, the pair swam a total of 38 miles due to the strong currents.

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

"We had 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," said Sarah.

"We also used plenty of goose and duck fat to ensure the jellyfish slid off us, rather than stung us. It also added a little insulation too since the water temperature was chilly!"

The two also had to hire the services of a support boat with a trained pilot and observer who verified that they completed 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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