Menu Donate Request our help

Helpline: 0300 102 1919

Swimming the Channel for charity

Aly takes a break from trainingFlight Lieutenant Alyson Phippen is a physical education officer at MoD St Athan. This month, Aly is taking on an extreme challenge in support of the RAF Benevolent Fund. She tells us more in this blog.

I will be swimming the English Channel solo from Dover to France to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. It is 21 miles as the crow flies, but because of the currents I will probably swim further. The water is a balmy 17 degrees!

Channel rules mean I will only be wearing a swimming costume, a hat and goggles. I will use channel grease (mix of lanolin and vaseline) to stave off some of the cold but it is mainly to prevent rubbing from my costume.  

The idea of the channel swim developed from when I was part of Exercise Channel Eagle three years ago. This was a tri-service race across the channel with guest teams from a university air squadron and Battleback.

Seeing one of our swimmers ‘Wooley’ Wooldridge start the team off and then finish in France inspired me to swim the channel solo. I am also 30 next year and potentially leaving the service so it seemed like the perfect time to do it.

The hardest things about the challenge will be the time it takes (anything from 10-20 hours) and, of course, the cold. 

I really wanted to support an RAF charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund do fantastic work for a whole range of people including those currently serving and their families as well as ex-serving men and women. 

I've spent time with those who have needed the support of RAF Benevolent Fund, so I wanted to do my bit to help.

By Aly Phippen


Related articles:

Sign up to receive the RAFBF e-newsletter