Channel swim fulfils ambition from childhood

Ashley Christopher halfway across the Channel
Ashley Christopher halfway across the Channel

Son saved by hero after A27 crash

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A MAN has fulfilled a childhood dream by completing a swim across the English Channel

Ashley Christopher, 48, spent almost 14 hours in cold water to raise money to support a charity helping homeless people in the Portsmouth area. So far he has raised more than £3,000.

Cross-Channel swimmer Ashley Christopher

Cross-Channel swimmer Ashley Christopher

Ashley, a father-of-two, said he had first wanted to attempt the swim as a teenager: ‘I was a 14-year-old swimmer at the time and I heard on the news that you can swim The English Channel and I thought: “I want to do that”.’

But it was not until he joined the Durley Sea Swims group three summers ago when he actually started training.

He began with four-hour swims over the weekends, went swimming in the winter sea and endured a 10-hour marathon as a final test.

At 4.57 am, on August 1, he plunged into the cold water at Samphire Hoe near Dover and 13.4 hours later he emerged victorious on a beach near Wissant, France, fulfilling his childhood dream and raising £3,600 for charity. According to him, more people have conquered Everest than tamed the Channel.

Ashley said: ‘I never really enjoyed the first two hours, but the next seven to eight hours, it was brilliant and I was enjoying it. The water was a little bit choppy but I did not mind that and I got stung by a jellyfish but I did not worry about that either.’

Several hours before the end of the challenge Ashley felt a pain in the shoulder.

Ashley added: ‘An old injury came back. It started off in my shoulder and by the end of the 13th hour it was shooting pain down to my wrist. I thought the injury would be so painful that it was going to stop my arm from moving.’

In the meantime, he has one piece advice for anyone wanting to fulfil their dreams: ‘Break out of your comfort zone.’

Ashley is a team leader for Re-Fit, a sports project in Portsmouth that has teamed up with Pompey in the Community, engaging in a number of activities.

All the funds raised via his page at JustGiving.com will be used to support the charity projects of the Society of St James, a charity helping homeless people. To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Ashley-Christopher2.