Charity swim across the Solent

Dance night raises cash for Titchfield cancer centre

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SIX swimmers made easy work of the Solent as they swam across it for charity.

The group of friends from Spirit health club, at the Holiday Inn, Old Portsmouth, set off early yesterday morning from Stokes Bay, in Gosport.

The team of swimmers from Southsea taking on the Solent. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142575-3)

The team of swimmers from Southsea taking on the Solent. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142575-3)

It took them two-and-a-half hours to reach Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

One of the swimmers was Michelle Green, a 34-year-old PE teacher, who is on an epic mission to complete a challenge for every week of this year for the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association, known as Footprints. So far she has raised more than £3,000.

She said: ‘It was lovely. It was a really nice team effort.

‘It feels really good to be able to say we’ve swum the Solent.

17/09/14  RS''A team of swimmers from Southsea have swum across The Solent from Gosport to The Isle of Wight. (left to right), Michelle Green, Matt North, Martin Spencer, Graham Sweet, Carrie Walker and Debbie Cowie. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142575-4) PPP-140917-171328003

17/09/14 RS''A team of swimmers from Southsea have swum across The Solent from Gosport to The Isle of Wight. (left to right), Michelle Green, Matt North, Martin Spencer, Graham Sweet, Carrie Walker and Debbie Cowie. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142575-4) PPP-140917-171328003

‘My aim is to take part in 52 challenges this year.

‘I’ve got a couple of marathons coming up and I’m finishing with the marathon in Portsmouth on December 21.’

The challenges so far include the Ryde 10-mile race, Portsmouth Half Marathon, Andover triathlon, Bournemouth Half marathon, The Rowans 10k, Littlehampton Aquathon, Romsey five-mile, Portsmouth Duathlon and the Petworth Duathlon Race.

Matthew North, 33, is a personal trainer at Spirit.

Matthew said: ‘It all started when we were sitting in the jacuzzi at the club with John Waldron, who is the skipper of the Mary Siobhan boat.

‘We have quite a few swimmers at the club who were looking for something to aim for so we came up with the idea of swimming the Solent. John volunteered to be in charge of the safety boat.

‘We all met up at Eastney and it was really choppy and looking a bit dubious. But by the time we set off from Gosport the conditions were really good.

‘We had some close shaves with some big ships that felt really close but we were actually a safe distance from them.

‘We arrived at West Sands, in Ryde, in glorious sunshine.’

The five other swimmers, who are all from Southsea, were Michelle Green, Graham Street, Debbie Cowie, Martin Spencer and Carrie Walker.

The money raised will be split between Naomi House, Footprints and buying a defibrillator.

Donate at bit.ly/ZpP0jB.