Action Foundation CEO, Duncan McAuley (above right), is leading a relay team in swimming the English Channel from Dover to Calais in May to raise money for refugees. Last week, we caught up with Duncan as he reflected on this incredible challenge. This week, we’re meeting the rest of his teammates and finding out what the swim means to them
First up is ex-marine, Rich. With his military background, Rich is no stranger to challenging himself in difficult situations. He has years of competitive kayaking under his belt which have equipped him well for this cold-water-challenge!
Rich lives in Leeds with his family and is looking forward to taking part in this incredible challenge to raise money for refugees.
“It’s great to get outdoors and challenge myself, though it might have been better to be training during the warmer season! It’s even better to be raising money for a great cause and hopefully we’ll make a real difference to the lives of those Action Foundation supports”
Rich has been training hard to get Channel-ready by May: “I started off training in my local pool but have increasingly managed to find outdoor locations to train. My most memorable session was losing my goggles in the first wave when stepping into the water with my father-in-law off the coast of Wales in the Bristol channel.”
Next up is Dan. Married to a French woman and parent to a bilingual two-year-old, Dan has a unique understanding of some of the dynamics that come with migration and integration in the UK.
“Having spent time living in different countries and with relatives now in France, I’m aware how difficult it can be to be far from family. I’m excited to be taking on this challenge to help those much less fortunate than me who will also be far from loved ones, but for very different reasons.”
Dan has a long history of outdoor pursuits having worked as a raft guide and kayaker in Austria and having mountain-biked competitively for several years.
“Outdoor swimming has been a new sport to get to grips with, but I’ve found myself really enjoying it. It’s always good to practise a new skill and push to develop yourself and I can see myself doing more in the future.”
Along with his wife and young family in Southampton, Ryan often spends his weekends swimming and sailing. He’s well-accustomed to cold water, however, this challenge will take his outdoor swimming to a whole new level.
“In February I joined a swim club which provided me with invaluable support in getting prepared for the challenge and after a holiday abroad, where I was able to swim in the sea most days, albeit a much warmer one, I’ve been adjusting to the cold water element by swimming in both the harbour and river at Southampton.”
Ryan is looking forward to taking on this challenge and raising money for refugees along the way.
“It’s fantastic to be able to raise awareness of these issues and get behind the work of Action Foundation. It’s great to join a team of guys I’ve known for years and I’m sure we’ll be able to keep each other going with plenty of support and encouragement on the day.”
Originally from Dorset, Andy has been living and working as an IT manager in the United States for several years. Outside of work, Andy loves a personal challenge and actually qualified for the world Ironman series in recent years.
Andy is passionate about raising awareness for this important cause.
“Having grown up on the South Coast, I’m no stranger to the water, but can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be making the dangerous journey refugees are forced to. I’m really pleased to be able to join the team raising money for such a good cause.”
In terms of training, he’s looking to acclimatise to the cold temperatures in the coming weeks. “I’ve been spoilt in terms of training conditions with my ‘local pool’ in Florida being a heated outdoor 50m pool that happens to be the national training centre. However, I’ve recently moved back to Chicago and will take the opportunity to start acclimatising to the cold before heading back to the UK in early May for plenty of swim practice in the sea before the event.”
A huge thank you and good luck to the team for taking on this incredible challenge to raise money for Action Foundation. You can sponsor the team and wish them good luck over on their fundraising page.
And if you fancy taking on your own fundraising challenge (you don’t have to take on the might of the ocean – how about a cake sale or sponsored dog walk?) then contact [email protected] to chat!