Next month Annie is swimming the English Channel in a relay swim with four of her friends. Together, they are Les Cinq Doris and are all raising money for five different charities. Annie is a local community Trinity supporter and is raising vital funds to help fund our free care which her community relies on. 

“I don’t quite know how the idea came about – after swimming the Serpentine mile and two milers, my friend put the idea in our head of why don’t we think about doing a channel relay swim? Once it was in my head I couldn’t get it out.

There are five of us in the team and we’re heading out in a few weeks’ time. We do a one hour swim, four hours in the boat, so we take it in turns doing an hour at a time until we get to the other side. Because of the tides you end up zig-zagging your way across so you end up swimming about 26 miles so it ends up the equivalent of a marathon. Hopefully if we can all swim fast enough, the idea is that you only hit two turns of tide because if you end up swimming for longer you get the third turn of tide and some people end up hitting Belgium or in the middle of the P&O ferries so hopefully that won’t happen! Dodging those ships is the man in the boat’s job – he’s in charge of getting us across the shipping lanes. He says it’s basically like crossing the M25!

We’ve been going down to Dover every weekend since May to practice. There’s a mad group of people called the Dover Channel Swimmers and they give their time for free to help you train. You’re not allowed to wear a wetsuit - I think it’s so traditional because it’s such an old fashioned thing that’s been going for years and years - so you’re only allowed to wear a normal swimming costume, one hat, goggles and then two sets of lights so they know where you’re going.

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Our fundraising is going pretty well – we’ve raised about £12,000! I’m hoping to take lots of videos and put them on social media because people are like “what are you doing? Are you insane?” so I think the grimmer it looks the more we’ll raise! When we started off, the first May bank holiday was when it hailed and I took a video of me swimming and people couldn’t believe it.

For me, I was always going to do it for Trinity.

When my daughter first started school there was a mum that I got really friendly with and she got sick and came here. It was the first person I knew well who had died young and had a young child. Her funeral was local and I remember meeting some people from Trinity and thinking wow and her husband said how amazing they had been and it just kind of stuck with me I suppose. My sister in law, her sister has been diagnosed with cancer and is local and she’s been using some of the counselling services too.

You see Trinity so regularly, because I’ve lived locally for so long, and you pass it on the bus when you come back on the 137. I think it does amazing, amazing work.

After looking round Trinity I’m just blown away, I’ve heard so many stories about Trinity and the garden and it just blows me away how amazing this place is.

I always had the perception that people came in here to die and I didn’t realise all the services that are on offer like the dementia room that is all set out. It’s got to be the most beautiful building in Clapham as well and I love it, the fact that you’re all up here as well it’s like a family then. I’ve passed the building a million times and I’ve always thought I’d love to go and have a look around and coming in has made a big difference- Trinity is what I’m going to visualise when I get bored swimming!

 

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