Granny swims Channel for Keech Hospice Care

22 September 2016

A grandma has successfully swam the English Channel to raise money for end of life adults and children.

Alli Harmer, 58, from St Albans, completed the crossing for Keech Hospice Care this week as part of a four person relay team in a time of 14 hours and 56 minutes.

The grandmother to four grandchildren said it’s the most frightening thing she’s done.

“I was absolutely petrified! When the observer opened the back of the boat and shouted 5,4,3,2,1, jump, my heart was racing.

“Once in the water I was completely disorientated. I got cramp, my goggles leaked and my eye swelled up so I could only see out of one eye. I was determined I wasn’t giving up and constantly repeated to myself ‘I can do this, I can do this.’ I’m lucky as I do not get seasick but the others in my team did.”

The brave granny learned to swim front crawl three years ago and made the channel crossing on Tuesday 20 September, setting off from Dover at 1.30am. She started her cold water acclimatisation in February this year when the temperature was six degrees in Bray Lake and also trained in water of 12 degrees in Ireland in May.

Alli said: “Every hour in the water seemed to last forever. I did a seven mile Isoman swim and swam Lake Conniston end-to-end last year, but swimming the Channel is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

“As I swam, I thought about my grandchildren and the very sick adults and children at Keech Hospice Care who have to face tough challenges of their own on a daily basis. As my local hospice, I know the charity relies on 70% of its funding to come from its community and I wanted to help. So far I’ve raised £1,350 which will goes towards helping Keech Hospice Care to provide more of the excellent support it gives to adults and children, and their families at a time in their lives they need it the most.”

To donate to Granny Alli’s channel swim visit

Keech Hospice Care support adults from Luton and South Beds and children from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes.

For further information contact Lorna Milton, Senior PR Officer at Keech Hospice Care on 01582 497874/ 07824606856 or at