Team raises thousands for children’s charity

A former firefighter from Hailsham took the plunge for charity recently by swimming the Channel with a relay team.

Roger Cragg, of Forest View, was one of six people who braved the cold to raise funds for Charity for Kids.

The 67-year-old found out about a pair of firefighters who work where he used to be watch officer at Bohemia Road in Hastings taking part in the swim. After making enquiries Roger said he would like to join and was called in after some of the team dropped out.

On August 13 he set off with five others for the mammoth challenge, which saw the group swim individually for an hour at a time, wearing only trunks, goggles and a hat.

The keen swimmer, who was joined by Paul Harris who founded the charity for the swim as well as four others, said, “It was quite rough and quite cool.

“It is a mind game. I would say you have to be a good swimmer and have a strong mind if you attempt the Channel. I wanted to do it and it’s ticked a box.

“It was an opportunity to achieve that and raise money for charity, which is even better.”

The group set off at 11.15pm on August 13 and arrived back in Dover at around midnight the next night.

It took them 13 hours and 25 minutes to travel from England to France and 11 hours and 43 minutes on the way back.

The group trained for 18 months before the big day, using the lake at a prayer centre in Ashburnham and also heading out to sea to get used to the temperatures.

Roger said the challenge had strict rules to adhere to, adding, “You must jump in the water and overtake the guy who is finishing. It’s horrific at night, you’re following a small beam of light.

“I swam at 3am and came out at 4am and it was bitterly cold.”

Despite the cold temperatures Roger said he enjoyed the challenge, which saw £24,000 raised in total which includes some funds from the charity’s committee team.

Charity for Kids is based in Hastings and its aim is to help disabled, sick and terminally ill children and families.

To find out more, visit the website at: www.charity4kids.co. uk