Channel swimmers donate �7000 to abuse charity Respond

Five superhuman swimmers who dodged jellyfish and battled sea lice while crossing the Channel have met with a charity to learn how the �7,000 they raised will be spent.

Jess Thorpe, Mel Cave, Andrea Ferguson, Sarah Napier, and Zoe May, of the Red Top swimming club, who train at London Fields Lido, Hackney, took less than 11 hours to complete the crossing on September 15 and needed a week to recover.

On Monday they met with workers at Respond, a group helping people with learning disabilities who have suffered abuse. Chief executive Dr No�lle Blackman said the money will help pay for a complete overhaul of the charity’s IT system.

She added: “It’s so important because we’re limping along on an incredibly old server that crashes every five minutes.

“It really will revolutionise how we work.”

Jess, 27, said: “It was definitely one of the hardest things any of us have ever done. The tide was pushing us up the coast so we landed on a pile of rocks.

“We started at 11.30 at night so a lot of the swim was throughout the night – it was just a case of getting used to the cold water and trying not to freeze. It’s fair to say it wasn’t a pleasant experience.”