Two friends swim the channel for loved ones lost to bowel cancer

Teresa Hogsbjerg and Gail Taylor

Two university friends embarked on a 15 hour two-person relay swim across the channel in honour of friends lost to bowel cancer. - Credit: Ali Smith

Two friends have raised nearly £8,000 by embarking on a 15-hour relay swim across the channel in honour of loved ones lost to bowel cancer.

Mother of two Teresa Hogsbjerg, whose family farm is based in Sudbury, joined Gail Taylor in completing a fundraiser for Bowel Cancer UK.

Shortly before sunset on Sunday, June 26, the two swimmers set off in a small fishing boat from Folkestone harbour.

They successfully reached a beach in France on Monday afternoon, meaning their challenge took almost 15 and a half hours to complete.

Teresa and Gail embarked on the challenge in honour of loved ones - one of which was a close university friend who they lost to bowel cancer at only 30 years old.

Soon after this happened, Gail lost another of her closest friends to the disease at 31 years old, meaning the charitable cause is particularly close to both women's hearts.

Teresa and Gail said: "The memories of our friends who lost their lives to bowel cancer came into our thoughts many times on our journey across. We started on what would have been Claire's 40th birthday which in itself was amazing.

"At some point during the night we saw a huge shooting star, possibly Natalie giving us a push in what was a particularly tough part of the swim."

Most Read

Both had to juggle their family and work lives to ensure they could complete a sufficient training regime to enable them to complete the challenge.

During the swim, they alternated swimming for an hour each, did not wear wetsuits in accordance with the rules and encountered numerous jellyfish and large container ships.

Upon completing the challenge, they said: "There was nothing in our heads other than getting to the other side. We always knew we would because we could not let each other down.

"Our friendship has taught us many things and this latest adventure taught us that anything is possible and that teamwork makes the dream work."

So far, the swimming duo have raised just under £8,000 - almost four times their original fundraising target.

They added: "We are so grateful to all those who have sponsored us and supported us in any way to help raise awareness about bowel cancer."