10 June 2020

The Hersee Family Channel Swim

In late May, the hot weather combined with lockdown restrictions left many finding inventive ways to enjoy the sunshine. Local supporter and volunteer in our fundraising team, Katharine Hersee, decided to take the opportunity to do something unique in aid of our services, and to go the extra 21 miles.

Hersee family complete channel swim

The Hersee Family completed their epic Dover to Calais swim in their swimming pool - that's (2,970 lengths) at the end of May. It took 11 and a half hours between the five family members.

When asked why they decided to  take on such a monumental challenge, Katharine's children said: "Lockdown has been difficult for many people. Our family were feeling a bit frustrated that we couldn't do something positive. At the same time Rennie Grove Hospice Care, who looked after ​our grandpa and our Step grandmother was finding it harder to raise money to look after its patients. We knew that their charity shops were shut because of coronavirus and their fundraising events had to be cancelled. We wanted to do something to raise money for them. There's a lot of attention on the NHS at the moment but not so much on the problems faced by health care charities. Rennie Grove Hospice Care does a very important job looking after patients in the community.

Channel swim barometer

"We're lucky to have a lovely swimming pool in our garden and mum suddenly had a good idea. We could swim the channel in our pool - 21 miles in a family relay from Dover to Calais. We sat around the kitchen table thinking about it. 

"We measured the pool and worked out that we'd need to swim 2,930 lengths between us. 586 lengths each. We trained in lovely sunny weather to make sure we'd be strong enough on the day and decided to do it on the May bank holiday in half term.

"The day was long. We took it in turn to do sets of 200 lengths. We counted each lap on a tally counter to make sure we swam the right amount of lengths and we had lots of breaks when others were swimming. We had a BBQ lunch and lots of treats throughout the day to keep our energy levels up.

"It took us 11.5 hours to do our swim. Dad and Hal started at 7:40 in the morning and mum completed the last lengths at 7:15 in the evening. We got more and more tired but never gave up. 

laps completed by Hersee family channel swim

"Daisy's hair has turned green from the chlorine but we are so happy we completed the challenge. We've raised almost £9,000 on our just giving page and my dad's work says they will match what we raise. We're so happy that we have raised so much money for them so that they can carry on caring for patients in the same way they cared for our family."

Claire Redrup, our Community Fundraising Manager, said: "Congratulations to the Hersee family on their incredible achievement and for raising such a fantastic amount that will help to provide hours of vital hospice at home care in the community. Please do get in touch with us if you'd like some support setting up a challenge of your own. Or if you need some inspiration click here."