December 7 2013 Latest news:
by Kate Samuelson
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
A team of teenage girls have become some of the youngest people ever to swim the Channel in a brave bid to raise money for their Camden school.
Six 13 and 14-year-olds negotiated freezing water, jellyfish and dangerous ships as they completed the 21-mile challenge to raise funds for new facilities at Camden School for Girls in Sandall Road, Kentish Town.
One of the girls, Millie Elson, 13, is believed to be the youngest deaf person to swim the Channel as the valiant group made the crossing in 13 hours as a relay team, rotating in hourly shifts.
The youngsters, known as 6GirlsNoBuoys, were inspired to take on the challenge after swimmer Lily Ouldcott’s father swam the Channel alone.
Lily, 13, said: “I wanted to do something like it and then I found out about relay racing. Millie’s mum thought we could do it for the school.”
The girls were only slightly older than the youngest female Channel swimmer, who was 12 when she tackled the crossing.
They have raised more than £18,000 towards a upgrade of science labs and IT facilities at Camden School for Girls, where four of the swimmers are pupils – Lily Ouldcott, Millie Elson, Ella Di Peretti and Minnie Fawcett-Tang.
Their friends Maddy Jenkins and Felicity Challinor decided to join them on the challenge.
Millie’s mother, Clare Elson, said: “The school is buzzing as the girls raised an incredible amount of money through their sheer grit and determination.
“Their gruelling months of training, which involved very early starts, cold, dirty water, jellyfish and negotiating great ships, were worth it.”
The girls could not have completed the exhausting feat without the support of their families.
“Everyone’s parents were really proud and committed,” said Lily, whose mother and father were both on the support boat, as first-aider and coach respectively.
6GirlsNoBuoys have received support from as far afield as Dubai and Australia.
Minnie said: “We’ve inspired three other teams to do the swim. It’s amazing to think that we have made such a difference!”
You would think that after swimming to France, the girls would be in need of a long rest.
But Maddy said: “Me and Ella are thinking of doing it as a duo and we want to do something else as a team. The feeling I had when swimming the relay was indescribable.”
* The girls are aiming to raise £25,000 in total. Visit www.justgiving.com/6GirlsNoBuoysTeam to donate.