Syston Teenager takes on The Aspire Channel Swim Challenge

Charlie, a 15 year old Syston resident who attends Long Field Academy and is a member of Leicester Neptune Swimming Club, has accepted the challenge to swim a relay with five other club members to raise funds for Aspire.
It came about after his Head Coach Alison asked if they would like to take on the challenge and raise money for Aspire. This is one of the toughest challenges a swimmer could face, so of course he signed up. Charlie is a strong swimmer and has been swimming competitively since the age of nine years. As well as County and Midlands competitions, he has also just done his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and hopes to complete the Silver before taking his GCSEs next year.
Charlie said ”I really want to make a difference to the lives of those who suffer such awful injuries and at the same time, take on this massive challenge!”
In Mid-November he along with five others passed their assessment at Aspire with flying colours and learned about all the great work that Aspire carries out and the experiences of others who have completed this challenge. They were also fortunate enough to meet Paula Craig MBE, who is an amazing lady who told them how Aspire had helped her and the impact they have had on her life following a tragic accident that left her paralysed from the waist down. Her story alone has given us all inspiration to train hard and complete this challenge.
Their team started with a training programme that took them through the Winter and they have now started their open-water swims for acclimatisation. Charlie and the others can’t wear wetsuits, so swimming in the lakes beforehand helps him get used to open water swims in trunks.
During May, June and July they will also undertake training sessions in Dover Harbour. Dependent on tides, their challenge will take place any time from the 8th August 2019.
Each team member will swim for one hour and repeat in order until they reach Calais in France – being on the boat at a swimmer’s pace and remaining in one piece may be more of a challenge than the actual swim!
Here are some things they will encounter on the challenge:- 21 miles of swimming minimum which could be up to 30 miles due to the tides, enduring water temperatures between 6 to 18 degrees centigrade, potentially encountering rough seas, avoiding stinging jellyfish, floating debris and thick seaweed, swimming around the clock, possibly through the night in complete darkness as well as fighting fatigue and hypothermia. Not a challenge for the faint hearted!
What is inspirational about Charlie and his team is that four out of the six are under 16 years of age, with one 18 and another in his thirties. See picture of the team right.
The Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with up to 500 tankers, container ships, ferries and fishing vessels passing through the narrow straight every day; it’s the M25 of shipping!
If you can please help Charlie and the Aspire Neptune team raise money for this great cause, please visit his just giving page: charlie-goddardlnsc6
We wish Charlie and the team all the best of luck and will bring you a follow up after the event has been completed in August.