Bien fait! Sheffield woman given French themed celebration as she swims length of the Channel

A Sheffield woman is set to complete a fundraising challenge of swimming the equivalent distance of the English Channel this week.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 9:55 am

Kate Watson, aged 51 from Stanington challenger herself to complete a sponsored 22 mile swim – the length of the English Channel at its narrowest point –over October to raise money for a good cause.

Despite her fear of fish, Kate has completed a series of 40 minute wild swims in Sheffield’s chilly reservoirs and dams to raise money for St Luke’s Hospice, a cause close to her heart.

St Luke’s looked after her grandma who received end of life care there, and Kate’s sister in law volunteers at the hospice’s salon, helping to make people feel more comfortable.

Kate started wild swimming during lockdown when she was left unable to work as her business was not considered essential.

Kate said: “It will help the hospice to continue their work - most of their funding is raised by people like me. I am swimming primarily on my own but I have had support from my friends. I always have someone to spot me. It’s quite cold at this time of year and I am a shiverer. It is dangerous to get too cold.

"So far I have swam 30,000 meters (18.6 miles), the majority in Sheffield but I did have a weekend in Wales where I got three miles under my belt. Most of it has been in the freezing cold waters of Sheffield. I go to various reservoirs and dams where I do wild swimming.”

Kate has so far raised £1,900 and it hoping to reach her £2,000 target by the time she finishes her 22nd and final mile on Friday October 29.

She added: “I run my own business and I wasn’t able to work over lockdown, I wasn’t considered essential. It hit me really hard and I needed to find something to build me back up. I started wild swimming last year and I took to it really well. When I get out of the water I am quite blue and I can’t string a sentence together.

Kate is raising money for St Luke's Hospice which provides end of life care.

“When I’m swimming I think how insignificant I am in all this water, but how insignificant are all my problems too.

“On Friday all my friends are planning to sing the French national anthem, and there might be a bottle of cheap French plonk

To donate to Kate’s fundraiser, visit here.

Kate has been swimming in 40 minute bursts in Sheffield's dams and reservoirs.
Kate's friends gave her a French themed welcome as she finished her challenge, with champagne, berets and French music
Kate finishing her last swim