Charlie’s Channel challenge
- Credit: Archant
A youngster from Felixstowe has taken on one of swimming’s toughest challenges in the name of a charity close to her heart.
Last week 16-year-old Charlie Smith completed a solo swim across the English Channel to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
An experienced open water swimmer, Charlie has been preparing for her challenge for a number of years.
Last year, she was part of a team of six young swimmers known as the East Coast Icicles, who tackled the Channel in a relay.
This time however Charlie took on the feat on her own crossing the Channel in a time of 13 hours and 29 minutes.
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Charlie has swum nearly all of her life and took an interest in open water swimming at the age of nine.
Early on she swam the 2 1/2 miles between Cobbles Point and Manor End across Felixstowe bay with her dad John.
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Talking about her latest challenge Charlie said: “It feels amazing to have done it. It doesn’t feel real.
“I started crying as soon as i got on the beach. I could not believe it.”
Her mum Sue and dad John have been helping her train and prepare for her challenge.
“The preparation was immense,” said Mr Smith, “It was only me and Sue that were on the boat.
“It was a real family affair.”
With the help of her parents, Charlie set off from the south coast last Friday, covering around 28- 30 miles after she was pushed out by the tide before finally arriving at cape Le Gris Nez in France.
So far Charlie raised around £2,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital who treated her sister Jessica Mae.
Charlie said that she was very thankful for the help she had received from the swimming community in Felixstowe including the Leisure Centre, the Sailing Club and the Swim Smooth, Felixstowe Waves And Swimscapes open water clubs. Having completed her Channel Crossing Charlie is looking at a much chillier challenge by taking on the Ice Mile.
A swim that has to be undertaken in temperatures of 4C or under.
If you would like to donate you can visit Charlie’s Justgiving page.