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Girls among youngest ever to attempt Channel swim to raise £25k for Camden School for Girls

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:01 10 July 2013

The girls (from left) Hana Sanei, Millie Elson, Lily Ouldcott, Poppy Boswell, Minnie Fawcett-Tang and Ella Di Peretti hope to be among the youngest to swim the English Channel

The girls (from left) Hana Sanei, Millie Elson, Lily Ouldcott, Poppy Boswell, Minnie Fawcett-Tang and Ella Di Peretti hope to be among the youngest to swim the English Channel

Archant

It is a mammoth challenge which has eluded some of the strongest swimmers known to man.

Training is chilly work: (From left) Poppy Boswell, Millie Elson, Lily Ouldcott, Hana Sanei, Minnie Fawcett-Tang and Ella Di PerettiTraining is chilly work: (From left) Poppy Boswell, Millie Elson, Lily Ouldcott, Hana Sanei, Minnie Fawcett-Tang and Ella Di Peretti

But that hasn’t stopped six 12 and 13-year-old girls - including four from Camden School for Girls - who are set to enter the history books as they defiantly prepare to swim the English Channel.

In preparation for the charity splash, the group – called 6 Girls No Buoys – are undergoing a punishing and relentless training regime, spending hours in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake while travelling to Dover Harbour at the weekends.

Four of the girls - Lily Ouldcott, Millie Elson, Ella Di Peretti and Minnie Fawcett-Tang - hope to raise £25,000 for new science and IT facilities at their secondary, Camden School for Girls, in Sandall Road, Kentish Town.

Their friends Poppy Boswell and Hana Sanei are fundraising respectively for Motor Neurone Disease research and Room To Read, a third world literacy charity.

With the youngest person to swim the Channel aged 11 and the second youngest 15, the girls are set to become some of the youngest to accomplish the feat.

Ella, 13, who lives in Upper Holloway, said: “I’m feeling really excited, even though I know it’s going to be tough, because the training has been fun.

“I think the most nervous bit is being in the sea by yourself because you can’t see anything. It’s a bit scary because I don’t like jellyfish and I don’t want to bump into any.

“We still have a bit of work to do to be ready but I’m confident we will get there.”

The girls will set off from Dover on August 27 at 2am and rotate in hourly shifts until they reach France in a relay-style swim.

They hope to complete the 21 miles in at least 20 hours and will be flanked by a safety boat manned by expert swimmers throughout.

There is often a wait of up to two years for a slot to swim the Channel, due to it being the busiest shipping stretch in the world.

But, Rob Ouldcott, the girls’ trainer, who swam the Channel last year, was offered a slot after a fellow swimmer pulled out. He then put together the team with his daughter Lily, one of the swimmers.

Mr Ouldcott said: “Most weekends I reduce three out of six of them to tears, because I’m pushing them so hard.

“You do it on a Saturday and they’re crying and shaking from cold, but then they’re there on the Sunday morning ready to do it again.

“They understand that to get to the ability to swim the Channel they have to push themselves beyond what they’ve ever imagined before.”

Millie, 12, who is deaf and has real difficulty communicating in the water, said: “I can lip-read really well, but it’s hard in the water because you have to look around to see where everyone is.

“I don’t really let the hearing problems affect me and I seem to take it in my stride.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/teams/6Grls0Buoys

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