Earlswood teacher to attempt to swim the English Channel solo for charity

An Earlswood teacher is to attempt to swim the English Channel solo this month.

Becky Halsey, a Year 1 teacher at Earlswood Infant School, is to attempt the crossing of more than 21 miles to raise money for the charity Aspire.

The cause helps people who have sustained a life-changing spinal injury adapt to life thereafter.

Mother-of-four Becky, 45, who lives in Reigate, has swum the Channel before – but that was as part of a relay team last summer.

This time around, she has set herself the goal of going solo all the way in a feat which she said is regarded by many to be the ‘Everest of swimming,’ and one of the world’s toughest challenges.

Becky said: “The English Channel is a unique and demanding swim, considered by many to be the ultimate long distance challenge.”

She said: “It isn't just the distance that is the challenge, but more the variable conditions that you are likely to encounter. “Winds can reach Force 6 and wave heights in excess of two metres.

“The water is cold and there is a good chance of meeting jellyfish, seaweed and the occasional plank of wood.”

She added: “It is also one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.” Becky is only allowed to wear a swimming costume, goggles and a hat for her swim to be officially recognised. She has been training for weeks, swimming in local pools during the week and at Dover, swimming in the sea each Saturday and Sunday for more than six hours a day.

Aiming to make her attempt between July 19 and 27, weather permitting, Becky is expecting the crossing to take her 16 to 20 hours.

If she succeeds she will be one of around 4000 people to have completed the challenge. “More people have climbed Everest,” she said.

“I am passionate about swimming and physical activity and I hope that I can inspire the children of Earlswood to become more active. “Already I am hearing about how hard some of the children are trying in their swimming lessons and what they are achieving. “It would be great to see as many children as possible trying a new activity over the summer and aiming to do the best that they can.”

Becky, who is a member of Redhill and Reigate Swimming Club, said: “I have chosen to raise money for Aspire as they are a fantastic charity that do amazing work helping people who have sustained a life-changing spinal injury adapt to life after their accident. “Aspire also inspired me to swim. Initially in my local pool when I first completed their challenge of ‘Aspire to swim the Channel,’ which is swimming 21 miles - the equivalent of the channel - in 12 weeks at Donyngs in Redhill in 2011.”

Her relay Channel swim last year saw her make the crossing as one of a team of six.

She said: “It was such a fantastic experience I crazily decided to attempt a solo crossing this year, so it seemed only right that as Aspire had inspired me, I should continue to raise money for them.”

She admitted recently: “I feel nervous, excited, apprehensive and scared by the enormity of the challenge, but if your dreams don’t scare you they are not big enough.”

People can sponsor Becky's swim online at: www.justgiving.com/Rebeccahalseychannelsolo

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