North Devon men to swim the English Channel and back again

North Devon Gazette

Four North Devon men are to swim the English Channel and back in aid of local charity Families in Grief (FiG).

The team, comprising Jason Milton, Charles Mills, David Baxter and Paul Tobin, have set themselves the target to swim from Samphire Hoe Beach in Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France, and back, within 24 hours. Â

The two-way relay will call for a total of 42 miles of swimming in cold sea water and without wetsuits, as the rules do not allow it.

The ‘Sea Monkeys’ team, who say they have ‘a passion for fun and adventure’ chose Families in Grief (FiG) after the charity supported Jason and his family when his mother died.

“Families in Grief (FIG) were there for my family and I when we needed help,” said Jason. “Along with fellow local ‘water babies’ we would like to give something back so that FIG can help other families. Swimming the English Channel seemed an audacious goal – however, we like an adventure so we've decided to swim to France and swim straight back again.”

An English Channel swim is the crown jewel of open water swimming and to swim both there and back with only four swimmers is definitely more unusual. The 2020 statistics reveal how unique a challenge they are taking on, as there were 55 successful 1-way relays recorded and zero 2-way!

They also, due to Covid, are not allowed to have non-swimming support crew, which means they will have to rely on each other for support.

“We’re so pleased and touched that Jason and the team are swimming for Families in Grief,” said Emma Marston, general manager of the charity.

“It’s a mammoth challenge and we wish them all the luck in the world. Fundraisers like the Sea Monkeys are our life blood, we’ll be cheering them on so loudly on July 1, they’ll hear us in France!”

You can support the team by making a donation on their giving page: