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Swimming the Channel to Help Horses

25 Sept 2019


A British Horse Society (BHS) employee is raising money for the charity by attempting to swim the channel next year.

Mother of two, Heather Clatworthy, 37 has worked for the BHS for 14 years and in her spare time is a keen swimmer if successful, she will be the first ever Northern Irish female in history to successfully swim the 21-mile stretch from Dover to France.

All funds raised from the swim will go towards the work the BHS does to help improve the lives of horses, riders, carriage drivers and horse owners. This will include aspects of the BHS’s work around safety, welfare, education, and access rights of way as well as getting people into riding.

Explaining why she’s swimming the Channel in aid of the BHS, Heather said: “My goal is simple, to swim from England to France, however long it takes, and to reach my fundraising target of £20,000 for The BHS. More people have conquered Everest than completed the Channel; it is not a feat to be underestimated, but I am preparing myself as best I can for the challenge.

The BHS has done so much to improve my own life with horses over the 21 years of being a member, and thousands of people throughout my time working with them so I would love to be able to give something back which will ultimately continue to make a lasting difference to the lives of horses and those who care about them.

You can follow my journey in a video blog, which is really exciting:


To find out more about Heather’s journey or to donate, visit her Just Giving page:




English Channel Swim Statistics

  • There have been a total of 3,951 Channel swims, with 1,832 swimmers completing 2,369 solo swims.
  • 36.8% of swimmers have been female.
  • The average age of a solo swimmer is 35 years, 132 days (based on 918 swims, 39% of all solo swims).
  • 32% of solo swims have been made by swimmers from the UK
  • Average solo crossing time: 13 hours, 32 minutes, 27 seconds.


English Channel Swim Facts

  • For a swim to be officially recognised, you must not be assisted by any kind of artificial aid – and you are only permitted to use goggles, one cap, a nose clip, ear plugs and one costume, that must be sleeveless and legless.
  • You must enter the sea from the shore of departure and finish on dry land at the other side, “or touch steep cliffs of the opposite coast with no sea water”, according to the Channel Swimming Association, which regulates attempts.
  • Swimmers usually start at or near Shakespeare’s Cliff or Samphire Hoe and aim to finish at Cap Gris Nez, between Boulogne and Calais
  • During the swim season of July to September, says the CSA, the temperature in the water ranges from 14 to 18C, but can plummet to 6C. You must complete a six-hour swim in similar temperatures before the CSA will let you attempt a crossing.
  • You must book one to two years ahead for a slot to attempt a crossing.

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