A FORMER Worcester Warriors player is set to swim the English Channel this weekend to raise money for a children's hospice.

Alex Grove is swimming the channel to help support Acorn's Hospice, providing a vital boost after the charity's fundraising events were hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Lockdown meant Mr Grove was unable to swim properly for 10 whole weeks, but the father-of-two is as committed as ever to completing the solo feat to raise vital funds for Acorns and its work caring for some of the most vulnerable children and families across Worcester and the West Midlands.

He said: “It’s been much tougher preparing for this challenge because of the pandemic and the restrictions that have been in place. There were 10 weeks where I didn’t swim at all.

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“Trying to keep fit wasn’t too hard but running and cycling are very different from being in the water. But as soon as restrictions were eased, I was back in the water.

“Luckily, the borders are open again and they’re allowing swims to go ahead, which is great for Acorns as charities like this one have really struggled during the pandemic; in a time where there would have been lots of fundraising events, everything has been cancelled over the last few months.”

32 year-old Mr Grove, who is a familiar face at Acorns for the Three Counties based in Worcester, announced ambitious plans to swim the English Channel for the charity last December.

The challenge, which has raised £18,200 so far, will see him make the journey from Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France from August 1.

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Mel Hall, Area Fundraiser for Acorns, said: “The commitment and determination Alex has shown in the face of so many unexpected challenges as he prepares for this incredible feat is nothing short of remarkable. He is a true inspiration.

“On behalf of everyone at Acorns, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Alex and wish him the best of luck. We’ll all be cheering him on as he swims to victory.”

Amid the current challenges facing the nation, Acorns is continuing to provide emergency and end of life hospice care as well as emotional and practical support to hundreds of families who are in strict isolation at home.

To find out how you can stand with Acorns as it continues to care for some of the most vulnerable children and families in the community, please visit www.acorns.org.uk/together

To sponsor Alex for his English Channel swim visit his JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alex-channel-swim