Teens swim the Channel

l to r, Derek Rankin, Hettie Rankin, Stevie Rankin and Hamish Zon

In a week when teenagers in sport – and one in particular – have been headlining the newspapers on a daily basis it is good to know that there are others, too, who realise that there is more to life than sitting hunched over their iPhones on social media.

This week two local teenagers, as part of a four-person relay team, pitted themselves against the elements and the occasional super tanker to swim the Channel. Even though it was a team of four, including two adults, this was no mean feat – even on a ‘calm’ day, the sea is never as calm and flat as it might appear from the shore. Elsbeth Turnbull takes up the story:

Channel swimmers
Derek and daughter Hettie

“My daughter Hettie Rankin, aged 16, and our neighbour Hamish Zon, 18, swam the channel last week in a four-way relay with Hettie’s father Derek Rankin, from local firm RX Architects and brother Stevie, also an architect, but based in London. They left Samphire Hoe, just outside Dover Harbour, shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning and arrived at Le Sirene, Cap Gris Nez at 2:30pm – a swim of 13 hours.

They have raised over £6,000 for charity but are still fundraising.

Hettie was fundraising for Anthony Nolan Trust for our friend Clare Cosson who is currently in the Marsden Hospital having had a transplant for a rare form of blood cancer.

The team ready for the off

Hamish having suffered from epilepsy as a child was fundraising for Young Epilepsy.
Both pages are on Just Giving.com, Hettie & Hames Channel Swim

Both families live in Winchelsea Beach, Hamish completed his A-levels at Norton Knatchbull School and is now going to Southampton University, while Hettie, who as an elite swimmer with Hastings Seagulls, probably spends more time in the water than on dry land, is currently studying for her A-levels at Battle Abbey. With leisure centres and swimming pools closed for a large part of the time that they were likely to have been training, one can only imagine the number of cold sea swims that would have been needed to prepare for the event.

Our congratulations go to the whole team.

Image Credits: Elsbeth Turnbull .


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