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Gay team close to finishing charity swim across English Channel

Out To Swim members are swimming from Dover to Calais to raise money for Central London Samaritans
Six members of Out To Swim will swimming the English Channel, from Dover to Calais, for the Central London Samaritans
Photo by Out To Swim.

A gay and lesbian swimming relay team is nearing their goal of crossing the 21 miles of the English Channel for charity.

Six members of British Club Out To Swim have plunged into the 14 degree waters off the coast of England, swimming one by one for an hour at a time, before hopefully reaching Calais in France in a couple of hours.

All experienced swimmers, the six gay men and women have trained for months to be able to withstand the ice cold temperatures and marathon distance.

Speaking to Gay Star News on a boat, Lee Knightley said: ‘We can see the coast of France. We’re virtually touching it really, with a bit more swimming to do.’

He added: ‘The channel has been kind to us as it’s been pretty flat, but the water is still pretty cold.

‘We’ve had some mist over the channel and some sunshine. Currently we’re in pretty good spirits.’

The team set off at 1am this morning, meaning people had to swim in pitch darkness with only the boat next to them for guidance.

Knightley said they have had no real difficulties, as they were properly trained for the task.

He said: ‘We’re very happy now that we can see the coast very clearly, and we have some sunshine on our backs for the first time in the day. So yeah, we’re all feeling pretty happy now.’

When asked how they will be celebrating the tumultuous achievement, Knightley said: ‘We’ve got champagne with us so we’ll do it in style, no half measures!’

Out To Swim are swimming the English Channel in the aim of raising money for the Central London Samaritans, a charity that provides confidential emotional support for anyone experiencing feelings of distress or despair, which can lead to suicide.

If you would like to donate or find out more information, click here.  

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