A brave and committed ex-RAF woman has conquered the famously challenging cross-channel swin in order to raise funds for SSAFA…

Cath Pendleton plunged into the chilly waters of the English Channel to swim to the shoreline of France, an epic challenge that took 16hrs 45mins and ended when she climbed out of the water on the French shoreline onto dry land.

Cath wore only a standard swimming costume, silicone hat and goggles as no insulating neoprene wetsuits are allowed under the English Channel swimming rules. She had to take small bites of food and sips of carbohydrate drinks thrown to her by her crew from the pilot boat and at no time was she allowed to touch the boat – or the swim would have been void.

The boat was alongside her the whole way, keeping her safe by navigating the safest route to cross one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, with about 500 ships passing through it every day.

After leaving the RAF, Cath’s marriage broke down and she had to relocate. Starting to build a new life for herself and her children, Cath needed support with making her home liveable as it had bad damp problems which was having a detrimental effect on her asthmatic daughter’s health.

Never forgetting the support that she received during this time, Cath took on this challenge so that SSAFA can help more members of the military community when they most need it. This is the first time that anyone has ever swum the Channel for SSAFA, making it a monumental occasion and achievement.

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