P&O Cruises is to support six Hampshire athletes who’ll attempt to swim the coastline of the Isle of Wight this summer in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.

Led by 46 year old fire-fighter Peter Locke the team will aim to complete the 60 mile swim around the island on Thursday July 4. The distance is equivalent to approximately three times the length of the English Channel or 3960 lengths of a 25 metre pool but made more exacting by the rip tides and strong currents.

Launching the venture Locke said: “After a failed swim attempt nine years ago around the Isle of Wight due to tide and boat technical issues I thought it was the right time to re-visit the challenge and raise awareness and money for this very worthy cause. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer. My aunt died two years ago and I’ve recently become a father for the first time, so it puts everything into perspective. I have friends and work colleagues who are going through difficult times right now with their loved ones, so it seems a fitting time to try and do something, however small, to help.”

The team will start from Yarmouth on the west coast of the island at 03:00 and will swim anti-clockwise around the island.

Locke continued: “If all goes according to plan it should take us 18 hours. We will each swim for 30 minutes followed by two and a half hours of rest; keeping a strict rotation. We have to keep up the pace of 28 minutes per mile otherwise the tides will turn and we will be unable to finish.”

Joining Locke in the challenge will be Darren English, 46, a keen surfer, skier and rugby captain; 48 year old swimming instructor and Shirley Bassey aficionado Lisa Clark; 44 year old fitness instructor and ex Great Britain swimmer and tri-athlete Gina Berger; 31 year old finance director and ex lifeguard “Lightning” Bex Harris and 44 year old Dave Langridge, a triathlete and multiple Ironman finisher. Dave is also the digital director at P&O Cruises.

Langridge said “I have seen the amazing fund-raising from P&O Cruises employees and guests for Teenage Cancer Trust and I was determined to play my part. We’re aiming to raise £3,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust – so that’s £50 a mile or just 75p per length of a swimming pool. Whilst we’re all pretty fit this is a very testing challenge as fewer than a dozen relay teams have ever completed the Isle of Wight coastal swim challenge.”

If you want to support them you can visit their Just giving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/iow60mileswim

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