Karen’s Santander International Channel Swim in aid of Autism Jersey 




Press release issued 6 March 2018

‘I’m just an ordinary middle-aged menopausal single mum who likes to swim!’

That’s what Karen Gallichan might say about herself. But we beg to differ.

Karen is a manager at the Autism Jersey Boutique, she has a son who has autism and this September she is going to swim the English Channel to celebrate turning 50.

Karen has taken on the challenge of the Channel Swim to raise £10,000 for an Autism Jersey bursary, specifically to fund qualifications or opportunities that will improve quality of life or enhance employment prospects for adults on the autism spectrum.

The swim is being sponsored by Santander International which, Karen says, makes a considerable difference. ‘It takes a huge financial pressure off me, having their support. Now I can concentrate on my training and my fundraising.’

In preparation for her Channel challenge, Karen swam around Jersey last summer – the fastest local female round Jersey in 2017, in 11 hr 5 min. She expects the Channel Swim to take about 20 hours.

The managing director of Santander International, James Pountney, said: ‘We’re delighted to be sponsoring Karen in her Channel Swim challenge to raise money for an Autism Jersey bursary. Karen is an amazing lady who is an inspiration to so many. We wish her every success with her training and future challenge, and look forward to being part of her incredible journey over the coming months.’

Karen’s Santander International Channel Swim, from Dover to Cap Gris Nez on the north coast of France, is scheduled to take place in the week of 2-7 September, tides and weather allowing.

‘This will be a day out of my life and I am sure it will be tough in places but it’s only one day, and it’s nothing compared to what my son had to cope with… And hopefully it will raise a lot of money to help adults with autism do worthwhile things.

‘Swimming has changed my life,’ she says. ‘If someone had said to me five years ago I’d be swimming the Channel in my 50th year, I’d never have believed them.’

Fundraising events
*Karen is holding a Fashion Show at the Grand Hotel on Friday 4 May. Tickets are available from the Autism Jersey Boutique.
*Karen is organising Dip at Dawn on 1 April, a swim in the sea at Anne Port to launch April awareness month.
*Sponsor Karen here.

Fewer than 2,000 people have completed the English Channel solo swim.
The distance is 21 miles as the crow flies, but swimmers will cover more miles than that as they move with the tide.
Karen’s Santander International Channel Swim, from Dover to Cap Gris Nez, is scheduled to take place in the week of 2-7 September 2018.
Her Jersey-France training swim is in the week of 20-26 July.

Rules of the Channel Swim include:
The swimmer can only wear a swimming costume, one hat, goggles and grease.
Only three people are allowed on the pilot boat. (Karen’s crew will be Sally Minty-Gravett, Billie Cave and Bianca Kempster.)
The swimmer must not touch the pilot boat.
The swimmer must not be touched at any point, but can be accompanied in the water so long as they are not allowing the swimmer to draft.

You can read Karen’s full story here.