We have swum from infancy, although this mainly entailed beach swims on holiday or at days out at places such as Walton-on-the-Naze and Camber Sands... brief stints at best, in chilly water!  Kev's first outdoor swimming event was Aspire’s River Arun swim in August 2022.  Christopher's first swim is difficult to pin down - freezing dips at Tooting Bec Lido and the Blenheim Triathlon, sometime just over a decade ago. Open water swimming is incredibly revitalising and uplifting - torturous when getting in, but the mental reward of breaking that barrier is amazing and the physical benefits of the exercise are also huge. 

Christopher and Kevin in the sea

We took on Aspire’s River Arun swim last year because our father sadly passed away in April. Obviously, this completely knocked us sideways but rather than wallowing in the pain and torment, we decided (at his wake) that we could use this moment as a springboard, personally, to become better men - and to set a great example to the next generation (Kev's daughter, our nieces, nephews and godchildren).  We were determined to find a way to swim the Channel and when looking for options, we found Aspire.  As our grandmother was a wheelchair user (due to a freak incident) and our mother and sister have both had spinal fusions, Aspire’s purpose seemed strikingly intertwined with our personal circumstances.  We chose the River Arun swim as it provided a gentle introduction to outdoor swimming for Kev, and was coincidentally the day before Dad and Kev's shared birthday.  So, rather than wallowing in sadness, we decided to wallow in the river!

The experience was amazing - the Aspire team and all of the support staff were absolutely brilliant and we had a fabulous day in the sun.  Apparently, we had a seal in the water with us, too and latterly, Kev's brave and fantastic daughter jumped in for a brief dip (after the event was finished).  It was wonderful and we redoubled our efforts and hopes to swim the Channel for Aspire.

Chris, Kevin and his daughter in the River Arun    Chis and Kevin with their River Arun medals

We joined a relay team so that we could swim together.  Solo would be great, but most of the best things in life are done with others - and whom better to swim with than your brother?!

Our training has been going great.  Kev smashed a 'Swim Loch Ness' equivalent challenge at his local pool - winning the contest by being the fastest to knock out the 32-plus kilometre challenge.  For Christopher the key is just getting in week-in, week-out in the unwelcoming wintry temperatures and conditions of the English Channel.  We are looking forward to the Aspire training weekends in Dover.  It will be a great experience to be in the water with everyone and it feels very exciting to be edging towards our crossing.

We are part of the Caribou relay team, who are a great bunch of people and all very good swimmers! It’s wonderful being part of a team and our boat leader Philip is very encouraging. His best advice has been to keep getting in and acclimatising.  Has been very positive and confident in us (and always available).

Christopher and Kevin on the beach

Our fundraising has gone better than expected. We have just reached £3,600, which was beyond our wildest hopes at this point. To help with our fundraising Kev did the Loch Ness challenge and Christopher is using his WhatsApp status as a blog, an effective way to update hundreds of people.  We also post regular updates on our progress and our JustGiving page explains our story and inspirations. We may hold quizzes, games and cake sales to boost our fundraising further, as well as a lot more pestering and pushing people!

It means a lot to be raising money to support people with spinal cord injuries.  Having seen how Aspire has helped people like Paula Craig MBE, it is a tremendous honour to support them and those whom the money will help.

To anyone thinking of swimming the Channel we say, do it!  Prepare yourself straight away and start your fundraising early, asking often (but not every day!).  Get everything organised as early as you can.  Buy a dry robe and some Ghost Socks (as they are incredibly comfortable and helpful after a long, cold swim).

Christopher and Kevin on the beach in their dry robes

Thank you very much to Aspire for giving us this opportunity.  We do not take our place for granted and feel fortunate to be representing Aspire and swimming the Channel, together.

Sponsor Christopher & Kevin

Swimming events

How we help