SWIMMING the distance of the English Channel in October and November might not sound a very good idea - but Crediton’s John Downes did that by swimming a total of 22 miles and raising funds for charity. 

John, who is a member of Crediton Town Council and Mid Devon District Council said he did not think he could do it at first.

By doing so he raised £210 for spinal cord injury charity Aspire, mainly through his JustGiving page. 

“It was the swimming coach receptionist at Lords Meadow Leisure Centre who motivated me!” he said. “I enjoy swimming and swim twice a week at the Leisure Centre anyway and she said ‘you can do it!’, it has made a big difference to my swimming,” John said. 

“It was a 12 week challenge, I did it in four weeks and raised £210 for Aspire, swimming two miles on my final day,” he added. So far as he knows he was the only person to undertake the challenge at the Leisure Centre. 

The Aspire Channel Swim was to “discover your inner champion and swim the distance of the English Channel”.

On the webpage people were able to track their position in the Channel once they began swimming. With a 25 metre pool, swimmers needed to complete 1,416 lengths over the 12 weeks of the challenge. John did it in four weeks. 

Aspire charity ensures that everyone with a spinal cord injury has the chance to live an independent and fulfilled life. Its website says it receives no statutory funding. It supports spinal injury research, rehabilitation and reintegration.