ENGLISH Channel swimmer Alan Gale was set to complete his daring challenge to reach France for Acorns Children's Hospice last night.

Mr Gale, from Nunnery Wood, was just a few miles away from the coast and was set to finish the challenge yesterday evening in memory of his late son Harry.

Supporters had been Tweeting messages of encouragement throughout the day and were following his progress online after he set off at about 6am.

He hopes to raise £10,000 for the hospice on Bath Road, Worcester, which cared for his son, who had cerebral palsy and heart complications, until he died in his father's arms on August 17, 2007 at just ten months old.

Mr Gale set off from a designated beach in Folkestone and was due to be in the water for over 16 hours.

Strict rules state swimmers must not touch the support boat and have to be able to completely get out of the water to successful complete the swim.

After finishing the swim, Mr Gale and his support team aboard the Connemara were due to immediately return to England.

Mandie Fitzgerald, community fundraiser manager at Acorns for the Three Counties, said: “On behalf of everyone at Acorns, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Al for his remarkable and inspiring fundraising venture.

"It costs £750 per child per day to provide specialist palliative care, yet we rely on donations and fundraising for the majority of our income.

"Support from people like Al is absolutely vital to us being able to continue our work.”

To sponsor Mr Gale, log on to algale.co.uk/channel-2014.html.