On Your Marks, Get Set Go ….. Beech Hall CHANNEL SWIM Junior Squad Upping the Ante 

Following their monumental success last year, English Channel conquerors, junior swimmers aged 13-16 from Beech Hall School in Macclesfield plan to go even further this year…as they are not only gearing up 2 boats to swim in relay the 21 miles from Dover to France between the 3-10 July – they are also massively increasing their fund-raising target for Mencap from £35,000 to £50,000.

The swim squad AKA ‘The Beech Hall School Mencap Marvels’, comprises swimmers with little or no previous experience of open water, and with support from the highly dedicated school staff, are now making the final preparations to get ready for the toughest swim in the world. All with a massive heart and a monumental goal.

Some of them have also learned to coach and support other children who face tough challenges in learning and independent living every day of their lives, and that’s why they have decided to continue to raise money for Mencap – the UKs no 1 learning disability charity. They are raising money online and welcome any donations.

Beech Hall School pupil Harold Ghorbanian (age 15) explains that he has managed to overcome episodes of severe anxiety; “We’ve learned to use special breathing techniques in the water to help us stay calm and relax and I use these breathing techniques to calm myself in the classroom.”

The epic challenge of swimming from Dover to France has been achieved by far fewer people than have climbed Mount Everest – it is widely regarded as the toughest swim in the world. The children have managed to overcome their deepest fears of swimming in icy waters, through jellyfish and in the night…they have developed community through participation and at times when most teenagers would be sleeping in bed these kids have swam early before school, in freezing temperatures and in rivers, lakes and sea and through this they have developed individually and as a team.

Beech Hall Headmaster James Allen observes that in stepping up to swim the English Channel; “Children leave Beech Hall School hugely confident as individuals…if they can swim the English Channel they are ultimately more interesting, employable human beings…swimming the English Channel increases their chances of academic success, and frankly the chances of doing anything they want to”.

Beech Hall School Swim Coach Nikki Pope adds:  “We are not looking for life to be easy because often the best results come from taking on board the most difficult challenges. This is about optimising opportunities and success and understanding that we can all do so much more than initially we think we can.”

For those wishing to donate, the school have set up a fundraising page: https://bit.ly/MencapMarvels

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