THOUSANDS of fund-raising events may have been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis, but ex-Worcester Warrior Alex Grove remains determined to conquer the world’s busiest shipping lane for Acorns Children’s Hospice.
The retired sportsman is just a week away from beginning an ambitious bid to swim the English Channel having faced unprecedented challenges during training.
Lockdown meant the he was unable to swim properly for 10 whole weeks, but the father-of-two is as committed as ever to completing the solo feat to raise vital funds for Acorns and its work caring for some of the most vulnerable children and families across Worcester and the West Midlands.
Alex said: “It’s been much tougher preparing for this challenge because of the pandemic and the restrictions which have been in place. There were 10 weeks where I didn’t swim at all.
“Trying to keep fit wasn’t too hard but running and cycling are very different from being in the water. But as soon as restrictions were eased, I was back in the water.
“Luckily, the borders are open again and they’re allowing swims to go ahead, which is great for Acorns as charities like this one have really struggled during the pandemic; in a time where there would have been lots of fund-raising events, everything has been cancelled over the last few months.”
Alex, who is a familiar face at Acorns for the Three Counties based in Worcester, announced ambitious plans to swim the English Channel for the charity last December.
The challenge, which has raised a staggering £18,200 so far, will see him make the journey from Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France from Saturday (August 1).
The 32-year-old smashed his six-hour qualifying swim and has been making daily trips to Dover.
“It’s a long way from Worcester but I couldn’t really afford to leave it any later. I was reluctant to push this swim back another 12 months. It’s just a case of getting it done and being as best prepared as possible.”
And the encouragement Alex has had from family, friends and supporters as well as the children and families who have inspired the challenge, will spur him on when the going gets tough.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve had so far. The swim could take anywhere between 13 to 16 hours and that’s going to be really bleak at times.
Mel Hall, area fund-raiser for Acorns, said: “The commitment and determination Alex has shown in the face of so many unexpected challenges as he prepares for this incredible feat is nothing short of remarkable. He is a true inspiration.
“On behalf of everyone at Acorns, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Alex and wish him the best of luck. We’ll all be cheering him on as he swims to victory.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alex-channel-swim to donate.