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As August draws ever nearer, training has ramped up for Hayley’s Channel Relay Team, who will be swimming the English Channel in order to raise funds for Autism East Midlands.

The team have been training at Water Meadows Swimming and Fitness Complex in Mansfield, putting in hundreds of lengths in the Hynd and Henshaw Competition Pool. This is a fantastic amount of training however it doesn’t quite emulate the temperatures, currents and dangers the team will have to overcome as they swim to France.

In order to train in similar conditions the team have endured gruelling sessions at Activities Away near Lincoln, where they have access to a huge open water swimming lake. As well as this the team have travelled to Cleethorpes so that they can swim in the sea, a truer representation of what they will face in August.

The motivation and determination to train hard and conquer this monster challenge comes from the Dunsbee Family, who form the foundations of the team. The family not only want to raise a significant sum of money to help Autism East Midlands to support families affected by autism, but also share their story to raise further awareness of autism.

Sarah Dunsbee shares her experiences:

“We have lived with Autism for over 25 years and at times it has put a real strain on all of us. It has also been funny at times for instance we still have to sit through Disney DVD’s on repeat and take the verbal put downs from Hayley when she speaks to us in Disney mode – “Not my friend you – Your’re Hades – I put you in jail Hook”

“The hardest thing to manage is everyone else’s perception on what’s happening during a situation when Hayley gets stressed and upset over communication issues – One time we had an armed escort leaving Paris airport – Simply because she would not let the security team check her plastic Hook – She was convinced the guy was stealing it and giving it back to Hook himself. Over and over she told him, he never spoke a word of English and Hayley would not give up – We ended up being escorted out of the country.”

If you wish to support Hayley’s Relay Team as they swim across the English Channel, then please use the link below, or you can simply text HCRT99 with the amount (£10) to 70070.

Click here to see the team’s Just Giving Page