A HARDY swimmer is to be dubbed "Queen of the Channel" after completing her twentieth cross-Channel swim her seventh this year in order to help handicapped pilgrims to make their own "Channel crossings".
London-based foreign exchange dealer Alison Streeter has raised more than £1,000 with her record-breaking swims to go towards the purchase of a new "jumbulance" for the Catholic pilgrimage charity. the Across Trust. The trust's specially adapted ambulances regularly carry disabled pilgrims across the channel to Lourdes.
28-year-old Alison said this week that she had been determined to win the title, awarded by the Channel Swimmers Association to the woman with the most crossings under her belt. "It's been held for the last 16 years by a Canadian girl, but I decided it was about time a Brit had it," she said.
Alison said she had become "quite used" to braving the chill waters, treacherous currents and heavy shipping of the world's busiest waterway. "The only way to keep warm is to keep swimming though I usually stop every hour or so to have a drink," she said. "You're not allowed to get out of the water, and for this last swim, quite a lot of it was in darkness."
Alison said there was always a support boat to accompany her on the 20-mile, ten-hour trip. from Dover to a point on the French coast between Calais and Boulogne, whilst a coating of thick grease protected her skin from the salt water.
The money raised by the seven swims this year will go towards an appeal being launched by the International Equity Dealers Association, who are aiming to raise the £250,000 necessary to purchase a new "jumbulance" to add to the fleet of 15 currently being operated by the Across Trust.