The Story so far…
We didn’t imagine on the 7th September 2009 when 7 brave people stepped on to the first Aspire Channel swim boat that just 6 years later over 150 people would have successfully completed a Relay Channel crossing with Aspire and between them they would have raised over half a million pounds? It’s been an amazing journey for everyone involved in this fabulous, often life changing challenge.
As a national charity, supporting people with spinal cord injury, the fundraising part of the challenge will always be important and essential, however, we also recognise just how hard swimming the Channel is, which is why we support people from sign up and throughout training, to the moment they pop their toes in the water and all the way to France. The team camaraderie is second to none and nothing quite beats that feeling of finally arriving in France, but rather than take our word for it, this is what some of our past swimmers have said.
Colin, Team Shark 2011
I drove away from Dover Harbour on Sunday 7th August 2011, not as usual returning from a holiday, but after completing one of the most challenging and inspiring achievements of my life. In the previous six months I, along with my team mates, had entered the world of Channel Swimming and experienced the camaraderie that relay swimming builds. My name - along with Kate, Meg, Russell, Neil and Adrian - is now on the ceiling of the White Horse Pub in Dover in celebration of our feat. Our names sit alongside the names of other relay teams and many solo swimmers who have mastered the 21 miles of the English Channel. If you get the chance I recommend you get your name on that ceiling. You will not regret the experience.
Sarah, Team Crocodile 2015
Just wanted to say thanks for everything. I am beyond grateful for being accepted to do the relay in the first place and for the training weekends and organisation. I am properly delighted at managing to raise so much money for a brilliant cause. The channel swim itself was AMAZING (apart from feeling dog-rough for a couple of hours) - loved swimming in the dark, through jelly fish and in in rough seas (sort of). Did wonder what the hell I'd signed up for during the rough start. It is a massive personal achievement and lovely to be part of a great team - they are a fab bunch. I ache now! (This was the day after Sarah’s crossing.)
Sophie, Team Seal 2012
Taking on this challenge has been an incredible experience; I've never met so many inspirational people or been in such a positive and supportive environment before. If you think you want to take on the Channel, I have 2 words for you: DO IT!"
Why we got involved with Channel swimming
Every eight hours in the UK someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury; it can happen to anyone at any time and no one is prepared for how it will change their life. Aspire exists because there is currently no cure. We provide practical help to people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injuries, helping them move from injury to independence. Our services include: Aspire Grants, Aspire Housing, Independent Living, Welfare Benefits Advice, Assistive Technology, Campaigning and Research.
The next step
If you would like to be part of an Aspire Channel relay team and help us reach a million pounds in fundraising whilst at the same time fulfilling your ambition to swim the Channel then give me a call on 020 8420 8951 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. As Colin, Sarah and Sophie have said, it is likely to be the best decision you have ever made.