Channel swim bid for Harrogate Hospice Care Charity

An open water swimmer from Knaresborough is taking on the challenge of a lifetime this weekend, to raise funds for her local hospice care charity, which cared for her best friend at the end of her life.

Jacqui Hargrave is joining a team  of four other Yorkshire swimmers to tackle an English Channel relay swim, braving jellyfish, boats and freezing waters, using their epic challenge to support their favourite charities. Jacqui is raising funds for Saint Michael’s Hospice, in Harrogate.

The team were due to attempt their crossing tomorrow, but gale force winds mean they are now waiting for clearance for their 15-hour, 21-mile swim.

Jacqui – an experienced open water swimmer who has written books about her adventures – says the biggest challenge will be the cold, but also cited jellyfish, currents and boats as other potential perils.

The swim’s stringent rules state each person can only swim one hour before another member of the team takes over. The team have to tackle currents and find their way around shipping lanes – so the swim could be up to 30 miles long.

Previously Jacqui has swum Windermere both ways, again raising funds for Saint Michael’s, and she and swim partner Andrea Stark, from Harrogate, have been practising in Whitby.

Jacqui’s support for Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate, started when her best friend Jane spent six weeks at the hospice before her death in 2017 after having been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She was 47. However, the time Jane spent at the hospice and the care she received enabled her to make plans for the future and enjoy quality time with her friends and family.

“It wasn’t just a hospice; it was a venue for parties, girls’ nights in, movie nights and pamper days which we shared with Jane enabling many happy memories to be made at the most difficult of times,” said Jacqui.

“Jane just kept saying to me ‘Isn’t it amazing?’, as the chef made popcorn for a movie night, or made special batches of the ginger biscuits she craved. Anything she needed, Saint Michael’s made happen.”

Jacqui, who writes an open water swimming blog, said:  “I am feeling more confident now, It’ll be invigorating and a challenge for us but we’ve done all the preparation and we’ve planned it all out.

“Under a quarter of people succeed but we are all very determined to accomplish this. Our driver is very experienced and understands the water so we’re in safe hands. It’s just about pushing ourselves against the harsh currents and of course the cold. The charities need their work promoting, especially with all the current uncertainty.”

Their swim has already been postponed once due to Coronovirus

Richard Powell, a deputy health centre manager from Chesterfield, and Leanne Davis, a paramedic from Rotherham, make up the rest of the relay team.ce following lockdown.

To support Jacqui


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