A keen sportsman has completed a solo swim across the Channel for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.
Paul Maggs, 55 – a member of Steyning Athletics Club – had previously attempted the challenging swim in 2013 and 2015 but had to stop three miles short on both occasions due to injury and exhaustion.
On August 16, he set off at 3.45am determined to complete it on his ‘third and final’ attempt.
Shortly after 8pm, Paul arrived in France completing the swim in 16 hours and 16 minutes.
After becoming the 1779th person to swim the Channel, he said: “I feel absolutely ecstatic.
“I just cannot stop smiling and I am so proud to have done it.
“I didn’t have a time in mind to complete the swim, it was all about getting there. “With this type of swim, you can have no prediction of the time it will take but I was hoping to get it done in less than 20 hours.
“I had been training for 20 hours a week – more than 327 hours in the year – to complete the event.”
This Channel attempt was also the third time Paul, from West Chiltington, had raised money for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust – an organisation he holds a personal connection with.
He added: “I chose this organisation because I know the incredible work they do and the very little funding they receive.
“As a keen sportsman, I have often seen the air ambulance called out assist people who have suffered injuries. “My two previous swim attempts raised about £4,500 so I am hoping to raise about £3,000 with this swim to get up to £7,500. All of this money will then be donated to the service.”
Paul was assisted through his swim by a boat crew including his wife Beverley, Sarah Cotton and swim captain Lawrence Naested – all members of the Steyning Athletic Club. Paul added: “I want to say a massive thank you to the three on board the boat. “This was a team effort and without them, there is no way I could have completed the swim. “Both Beverley and Sarah suffered badly from sea sickness which shows that is not an easy challenge for all the people in the team.
“I would also like to praise the athletics club which offers good swim training facilities at Steyning Pool and also promote open water sea swimming for anyone interested at Widewater Shoreham.”
If you would like to donate to Paul’s fundraising effort, you can do so via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thechannel3.