For Harry: Dad will swim English Channel in son's memory

Alan Gale will swim the Channel in memory of son Harry

Harry died at just ten months old in August 2007 and had been cared for at Acorns (s)

Alan Gale will swim the English Channel in aid of Acorns Children's Hospice (S)

First published in News
Last updated

HYPOTHERMIA, leg cramps, sewage and jelly fish are just some of the things Alan Gale will come up against when he attempts to swim the English Channel.

But Mr Gale will push all thoughts of giving up to the back of his head as he hopes to complete the swim to raise £10,000 for Acorns - the hospice that cared for his life-limited son Harry.

Harry, who had complications of the heart and cerebral palsy, died in his father's arms at just ten months old on August 17, 2007.

It will be just days after the seventh anniversary of the toddler's death that Mr Gale will take to the choppy waters for the mammoth challenge.

Mr Gale, from Nunnery Wood, will be taken to a designated beach at some point between August 18 and 20 where he will begin the swim in the early hours of the morning.

He said: "Harry was cared for at Acorns almost full time for six months which would have been at a substantial cost, probably about £100,000.

"About five or six years ago, I reached a stage where I wanted to do something to make sure that hospices were still there when other people needed them and I thought I'd want to raise about £10,000 so it needed to be something substantial.

"I literally woke up one morning over in the United States and decided I wanted to attempt to swim the Channel.

"Harry loved the water, at Acorns they have got a little hydropool and he loved the security of being in the warm water so, in a way, it seems appropriate I'm doing a Channel swim."

He said he was planning to swim the Channel alone because it was a very personal challenge but will have a support boat which includes his friend Alistair Macleod who has been helping him train.

Mr Gale has been using the pool at David Lloyd, Warriors Way, swimming for six hours at a time and the pair have been practising how he will be fed and how they can communicate.

Strict rules set out by The Channel Swimming Association include the swimmer not being allowed to touch the boat or any person and only able to wear a swimsuit or trunks, goggles and swim hat which provides no thermal protection or buoyancy.

When he gets to France he must immediately stand up out of the water then get straight back in the boat and return to England.

Wife Esta and his two other children Lewis, 13, and Will, four, will be supporting him from the safety of the shore.

He added: "I was not a keen swimmer and hadn't swam more than 2km before but it needed to be something that even friends and family would wonder if I was capable of being able to complete."

To sponsor Mr Gale and to follow his progress, log on to www.algale.co.uk.

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