Paramedics from Suffolk have succeeded in raising thousands of pounds for TASC, The Ambulance Staff Charity after embarking on an intrepid challenge to swim the English Channel.

Nearly a dozen paramedics and student paramedics from East of England Ambulance Service Trust took part in the East Suffolk v West Suffolk Relay Channel Swim in July.

Their efforts have so far succeeded in raising around £4,000 to be shared between TASC and the Ambulance Wish Foundation UK, which aims to help terminally ill people to fulfil their final wishes.

After a frustrating week waiting for calm seas, the two teams, who are based at Ipswich and Bury St Edmonds respectively, finally managed to set off in far from ideal conditions from Samphire Hoe, near Dover, late on the night of Friday 7th July.

Each team, accompanied by a pilot boat, took it in turns to swim for one hour at a time across the 21 miles to the French coastline.

Unfortunately, Team East Suffolk, comprising team captain Carl Friar, Sam Nichols, Joe Foot, Mark Barham and Simon Pryke, were beaten by the difficult conditions in the early part of the crossing and were unable to complete the full distance.

However, Team West Suffolk, which consisted of team captain Mark Ransom, Ria Delves, Cathy Freeman, Richard Pearce, George Maguire and Tia Whiteman, produced a gutsy performance to reach the coast of France in just over 14 hours.

A spokesman for the relay challenge said:

“With the first five or six hours of the swim taking place in darkness, well done to them for battling through the waves, the tide, the cold, cramp, seasickness, and jellyfish.

“Commiserations to Team East but equally well done for taking on one of the world’s most difficult sea swims. It is perhaps worth noting that more people climb Mt Everest than swim the English Channel!

“The teams are thrilled to announce that so far they have raised in the region of £4,000 for our chosen ambulance charities. So, whether you have donated, or just supported us on our journey, both teams would like to say a massive thank you for enhancing our watery adventure.”

People are still able to donate to the relay challenge by visiting: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/paramedicchannelswim

Further information about TASC, The Ambulance Staff Charity is available by visiting: www.theasc.org.uk/ or by calling 02477 987922.

Information about the Ambulance Wish Foundation UK can be found at: www.ambulancewishfoundation.org.uk/

Pictured: TASC Trustee and South East Coast Ambulance chaplain Rev Paul Fermor helps send the swimmers on their way

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