St Albans supergran’s Channel swim

PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 October 2016

Alli Harmer swims the Channel

Alli Harmer swims the Channel


A St Albans grandma swam across the English Channel to raise money for a local children’s hospice.

Alli Harmer swims the ChannelAlli Harmer swims the Channel

Alli Harmer, 58, of St Peter’s Street, completed the crossing for Keech Hospice Care as part of a four person relay team last week in a time of 14 hours and 56 minutes.

The grandmother to four grandchildren said it’s the most frightening thing she’s done: “I was absolutely petrified! When the observer opened the back of the boat and shouted ‘5,4,3,2,1, jump’ my heart was racing.

“Once in the water I was completely disorientated. I got cramp, my goggles leaked and my eye swelled up so I could only see out of one eye. I was determined I wasn’t giving up and just constantly repeated to myself ‘I can do this, I can do this’. I’m lucky as I do not get seasick but the others in my team did.”

The brave granny only learned to swim front crawl three years ago and started her cold water acclimatisation in February this year when the temperature was six degrees C in Bray Lake, Maidenhead. She also trained in water of 12 degrees C in Ireland in May.

Alli said: “Every hour in the water seemed to last forever. I did a seven mile Isoman swim and swam Lake Conniston end to end last year, but swimming the Channel is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

“As I swam, I thought about my grandchildren and the children at Keech Hospice Care who have to face tough challenges of their own on a daily basis. As Hertfordshire’s children’s hospice, and my local hospice, I know the charity relies on 70 per cent of its funding to come from its community and I wanted to help. So far I’ve raised £1,350 which will goes towards helping Keech to provide more of the excellent support it gives to children and their families at a time in their lives they need it the most.”

To donate to granny Alli’s Channel swim fund click here.

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