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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea



Most people who attempt to swim the English Channel only do it once. Andrea Gellan (47) from Dunfermline intends to do it three times non-stop!

Andrea, a mother of three and Senior Lecturer at Falkirk College, said,"I have been training around 8 times a week in order to attempt the crossing at the end of July. I am hoping that the record breaking attempt will raise funds for RNLI Lifeboats, as my colleague at work, Mhairi Hay, is a member of Kinghorn Lifeboat's crew and I am well aware of the good work carried out by them."

Andrea won't be doing the crossing alone, however, as it is a triple-relay swim with 5 other women. She admits to being the eldest of the group, with the youngest in their 20's and if the team do manage to complete the three crossings, they will be the first ladies team ever to do so.

The three crossings will be between Dover and Calais and will take one and a half days to complete. The total distance will be 70 miles, so each swimmer will complete an eleven and a half mile swim during this period. Each swimmer will take to the water for an hour at a time with a five hour rest, before they have to do it all again.

The temperature of the water in the Channel at that time of year is a cool 14 degrees C. And as it is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, the safety crew will have their hands full, especially during the hours of darkness. A second record may also be broken if the team can complete two crossings in under 20 hours, under Channel Swimming Association rules.

Although this is Andrea's first attempt at such a crossing she has completed a nine and a half mile swim across the length of Loch Rannoch and will complete an 8KM swim in Weymouth this weekend and a further 8 mile swim in Torbay at the start of July. She is well aware of the difficulties she might face from stinging jellyfish to sea sickness and dehydration.

So far Andrea has raised £500 for the Lifeboats, but hopes her achievement will bring in more for such a good cause. Anyone wishing to sponsor Andrea can contact her by e-mail on or by calling into Kinghorn Lifeboat Station any Sunday morning where you can also view the Atlantic 75 Lifeboat up close and speak with the volunteer crews.