A 67-YEAR-OLD is set to brave the depths of the English Channel – all in the name of charity.
Simon Barber, of Netherfield Close, Uttoxeter, will plunge into the freezing open water as part of a rely swim between September 7 and 14 to raise valuable funds for Diabetes UK.
The examinations officer, who works at Abbotsholme School, is no stranger to endurance sports after running 25 marathons over the years.
The exact day he will do the swim will depend on the weather and tides and he will be part of a team of six people competing in the challenge.
He said: “We will each swim two or three legs of about an hour or more each and it’s very much a team effort, with each member’s contribution being vital.
“The crossing will take between 15 and 17 hours. I have been open water swimming for five years, and have taken part in events such as the British Gas Great Swims and the iconic Dart 10K swim last September.
“The big challenge in the Channel crossing will be that it’s non-wetsuit, and one will have to contend with tides, jellyfish and weather.
“But I am glad to be supporting Diabetes UK, who do very good work in research and raising public awareness about diabetes. My sister is a diabetes sufferer so it comes quite close to home.”
To get himself ready for the big swim Mr Barber has been doing a lot of indoor swimming at Cheadle swimming pool and in May he will be able to start training again in open water.
The father-or-two added: “Swimming has always been a passion of mine and it has just sort of grown with me.
“I have taken part in several events over the years and it does tend to spear you on.
“I did The Dart 10k open swim last year and after that I was looking for something new and this idea of swimming in the Channel was always in the back of my mind.
“I rang up Diabetes UK as it was one of the few charities which organise this event and they offered me a place.
“Initially I was planning to do it in 2015 but they told me they had a space left for this year so I went for it.”
Anyone wanting to sponsor Mr Barber can do so online at www.justgiving.com/simon-barber4 or phone him on 01889 560709.