Parliament Hill Lido swimmers plan Channel challenge for charity

Five of the six Parliament Hill Lido swimmers on the beach before practicing for their channel swim.

Five of the six Parliament Hill Lido swimmers on the beach before practicing for their channel swim - Credit: Paul Meyler

A team of six swimmers are swapping Parliament Hill Lido for the English Channel. 

The swimmers - who have all been keen cold water swimmers throughout the year at the Lido - are attempting a relay across the channel for a charity called the Alexa Trust, which supports the parents of premature babies and those who are stillborn. 

The Parliament Hill Lido swimmers at the Lido itself ahead of their channel relay swim

The Parliament Hill Lido swimmers at the Lido itself ahead of their channel relay swim - Credit: Paul Meyler

The team consists of Justine Solomons, Rosie Allimonos, Natalie Hills, Kaley Botting, Paul Meyler and Simon Kerslake.

Paul and Justine spoke to the Ham&High ahead of their attempt to swim to the European mainland.

"We are all swimmers at the Lido, and have been going there for years. Quite a lot of people do channel relays. We thought it'd be a nice idea to do as a group together," Paul said.

The Parliament Hill Lido swimmers pose ahead of their cold water challenge across the Channel

The Parliament Hill Lido swimmers pose ahead of their cold water challenge across the Channel - Credit: Paul Meyler


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The event will take place on a date between July 29 and August 7 - with the team set to go with just 24 hours notice, due to the occasionally complex weather conditions in the channel.  

Paul said:  "During lockdown it was quite nice to have something like this to focus on." 

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The team picked the Alexa Trust partly because its founder, Howard James, is a keen swimmer himself. He's even come to cheer on the team during training. 

The Parliament Hill Lido swimming team have even got their own kit for the Channel relay

The Parliament Hill Lido swimming team have even got their own kit for the Channel relay - Credit: Paul Meyler

Paul added: "It's nice to fundraise for a small charity where we know the difference it will make."

Looking ahead to the swim, the team will take turns swimming for hour-long stints, with the swim expected to take 12 to 14 hours in total. 

Paul continued: "Much of the challenge is just being on the boat for so long, just bobbing up and down. It's like being on a rollercoaster for hours." 

Justine Solomons, who runs the Kentish Town-based Byte The Book literary consultancy, has raised more than £6,000 just by herself.

She told this paper: "Of course I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also quite nervous. I've done two years of cold water swimming throughout the winter, but I'm a bit nervous of the dark water, and then there's likely to be lots of jellyfish and the travel sickness.

"But everyone I have spoken to has said it's just a great day out."

To donate to the team, visit: justgiving.com/team/PHVI

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