Every eight hours someone in the UK is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. This year, over  5,600 swimmers have completed the 22 mile swim over a 12 week period pledging their support to raise funds for  national Spinal Cord Injury charity Aspire – seeing a 21% increase in participants compared to 2015.

The fundraising challenge, which covers the length of the English Channel, finished on 5th December and so far, has raised more than £370,000 for the charity which supports people paralysed by spinal cord injury.

Now in its 17th year, the challenge is going from strength to strength with this year’s fundraising seeing a 44% increase on last year.

Katy Boyd, Aspire Events Manager said, “This year’s interest in the Aspire Channel Swim has been incredible. We are receiving donations every single day, which helps towards giving independence back to those who have sustained a spinal cord injury.

“We have seen a huge spike in participation and fundraising, and we hope this growth and progress will continue into next year when we are aiming to raise £800,000, and recruit even more participants than ever before!”

Following the success of the Great Britain swimming team at the Rio Olympics in August, Katy says how it’s been great to see so many people taking a real interest in swimming as a way to keep fit. 

“There are so many benefits to swimming that people who participate in the Aspire Channel Swim can enjoy through this experience. As the fundraising has seen such massive growth this year, we really believe more and more people are getting behind the sport and seeing the advantages of taking up swimming as part of their ongoing exercise regime.”

Participating in the Aspire Channel Swim has been a debut for many supporters, with one new recruit raising nearly £5,000 alone. Donations to Aspire go towards helping spinal cord injured people move from injury to independence through funding equipment such as lightweight wheelchairs and providing accessible accommodation.

Tom Clark, Highest Fundraiser in the Aspire Channel Swim 2016 said, “Not only has the Aspire Channel Swim given me the opportunity to get back in the pool, but it’s also really given me the chance to learn about people who have been affected by a spinal cord injury.

Once I discovered what my fundraising could provide, it spurred me on to raise as much money as possible and make others aware of the work that Aspire deliver every day to help people with spinal cord injuries.”  

Top Aspire Channel Swim fundraiser Tom Clark

A spinal cord injury can happen to anyone at any time and no-one is prepared for how it will change their life. Aspire provides practical help and assistance to thousands of people living with a spinal cord injury in the UK, so they can lead fulfilled and independent lives in their homes, with their families.

To take part in the Aspire Channel swim 2017, visit www.aspirechannelswim.co.uk/