Cumbria Crack

Cumbrian foster carer and social worker take on cross channel challenge

L-R: Alex Nancollis and Emily Christmas during a training swim

[A] Cumbria County Council foster carer is part of a team of six who will attempt to swim the English Channel next month to raise funds for The Great North Air Ambulance Service.

Alex Nancollis, 46, of Egremont, who has fostered with the council for 18 years, will swim the channel as part of a relay team which includes Emily Christmas, a social worker in the council’s fostering team.

Keswick Lions have sponsored the challenge, which will take place between Tuesday 3 July and Tuesday 10, depending on tides and weather.

The 21-mile swim is likely to take around 15-20 hours to complete and each swimmer will be in the water for an hour at a time, with a pilot boat to keep them on course and carry the rest of the team.

As if this were not challenging enough, the rules of organisers, the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, say that swimmers cannot wear wetsuits, so team members are wearing non-thermal swimsuits!

Foster carer Alex, who’s been open water swimming for four years since completing a course in Ambleside, said she’s never done a challenge of this scale before: “I am incredibly nervous about this as it is totally out of my comfort zone. But it has been great to challenge myself; the cross channel swim is as much a mental challenge, as a physical challenge.”

Alex’s team member, Emily Christmas, a social worker in the Fostering & Adoption Recruitment & Assessment Team in Workington, added: “We anticipate the crossing will take in excess of 15 hours but are looking forward to the experience and the chance to raise important funds for our chosen charity.”

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