The group, including a woman from Thames Ditton, raised £15,648 for Swim Tayka.

They set off from Dover on Sunday at 5am, taking it in turns to swim an hour at a time.

They landed on French soil 16 hours and 19 minutes later.

SwimTayka is a UK-based charity, which runs swimming programmes in low-resource countries where learning to swim isn’t part of the culture, so risk of drowning is high.

Cecile Stearn from Thames Ditton comments, “Since I was a child, I’ve wanted to do this, though it always felt too big a challenge. Now I have succeeded with the support of my team, who I only met 2 months ago. The toughest challenge for me was coping with the cold water. Swimming when you are shivering is tough. But as a team, we pulled together, supported each other and made it to France.”

Bryan Avery, founder of SwimTayka, said, “Cecile and the team have joined an elite group of Channel swimmers, raising much-needed funds at the same time.

“More people have climbed Everest than have swum the Channel, and we’re very grateful to the team for volunteering to take part in this challenge.”

Bryan concluded, “We run programmes teaching local children to swim in places as far-flung as Bali, Peru and Brazil – all coastal locations where learning to swim simply isn’t part of the curriculum, leaving children at high risk of drowning. Every year, 360,000 people drown worldwide, and at SwimTayka, our mission is to drive down this alarming statistic.”

For more information about SwimTayka’s work, opportunities to volunteer on the swim teaching programmes, and to find out more about English Channel Relay swims, visit