This month marks the 50th anniversary of my English Channel swim, and I would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to all those who made that achievement possible. Foremost amongst those must be Godfrey Chapman, the first Weymouth Channel swimmer, who was my trainer.
A busy local businessman, he was nevertheless unstinting in contributing his time to supervising my training and generous in passing on his own expertise and experience.
I could not have done it without him! His recent death was a great sadness to me, and one I felt not sufficiently remarked upon by the local press.
Supporting the two of us was an active committee dedicated to background organization and raising funds; a Channel swim is an expensive business. The secretary was the Dorset Echo reporter Mike Neesom, who accompanied Godfrey and myself on many of the swims, and the Treasurer was Peter Hutchings.
Serving on the committee were a number of local businessmen and friends, including David Taylor, Philip Kahn, Bob Lock, ‘Geordie’ Clough, John Guppy, Maurice Halls, Fred Simmons and Edgar Wallis.
If I have omitted anyone, my sincere apologies. Many of them are now sadly dead, but they are remembered with gratitude.
I received much support from the people of Weymouth, the Borough Council and of course my parents. Through Mike Neesom, the Echo gave me much important publicity which maintained local support and interest.
All their contributions were important and much appre-ciated.