A MILFORD dad is training to swim the English Channel in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for a pair of charities.
Sean Willson, manager of the Hyundai garage in Everton, has been preparing for the gruelling challenge for more than a year but only recently received the news that his planned attempt could go ahead.
He told the A&T: “When I was 15, I was lucky enough to have taken part in a cross-Channel relay with my school and ever since then I have had a desire to swim the same stretch of water solo.”
After speaking to a successful cross-Channel swimmer at a charity event, he was spurred on to pursue his dream. He is aiming to raise £4,000 between the Brain Tumour Charity and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Sean said: “Last year I took the plunge and booked my swim across the channel. I started training – swimming in lakes, the sea and at local swimming pools.
“My training was going well and I was making good progress when Covid-19 began and we went into lockdown.
“Unfortunately all my planned fundraising events had to be cancelled because of lockdown so I now have a very short period to raise as much as I can for the two charities I have chosen to support.”
Sean has already met the £3,000 cost of the support boat which will travel alongside him during his attempt, so all donations will go directly to the two charities.
Wearing only swimming trunks and goggles, Sean will complete the cross-Channel swim sometime in the week beginning 27th July.
His fiancée Naomi Glass explained: “Because there are so many factors involved, like the tides and the weather conditions, Sean has to be prepared and ready to go, and then he will just get a call telling him to get to Dover within a few hours.”
Swimming the English Channel is considered by many to be the ultimate long-distance swimming challenge, including obstacles such as cold water, jellyfish and the daily traffic of 600 tankers and 200 ferries.
Although the distance from coast to coast is 21 miles, participants have to go in an S-shape, so often cover between 35 and 40 miles and typically spend between 12 and 18 hours continuously swimming.
For the swim to be officially recognised by the Channel Swimming Association participants must not be assisted by any artificial aid, and are only permitted to use goggles, one cap, a nose clip, ear plugs and one costume, which has to be sleeveless and legless.
To boost Sean’s fundraising efforts Amanda Maidment, from Milford-based Coastal Cake Company, will host a fundraising cake sale tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday from 11am-3pm in Whitby Road, Milford.
To donate visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/seanwillson