Chalkwell Redcaps

Chalkwell Redcaps

Saturday, 28 April 2012

SKS 2012 - Cancelled. By Lorraine Rate

Sadly SKS has been postponed for the swimmers 2012 Charity Challenge.  Attached is the letter received from The PLA to the swimmers, which after careful consideration by all  involved, it was agreed that Olympic year was not the year to attempt this.

Not to despair, and so as not to let our charities down, all challengers will shortly decide on an alternative so be sure to keep an eye on the blog for the announcement.

A big thankyou to the huge list of volunteers which were all lined up to support this challenge.  Your enthusiasm to help the swimmers to succeed was and will remain, very much appreciated.

My Queens Jubilee Charity fund raising swim will STILL GO AHEAD, as we will continue to support our charities.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


April 21 2012 saw our AGM and pre-season open water party under way.  After the formalities of the AGM, it was time to mingle amongst all the new faces that have signed up for another season of open water swimming and to get to know all the newbies.

I personally would like to say a huge thankyou for the many raffle tickets and cakes that were purchased on the night, enabling a mahoosive donation to go to the RNLI and Essex Search and Rescue.  Total money raised on the night was £337.57.

This of course, was only possible because of the fabulous prizes that were up for grabs.  Gifts donated by Gill and Dawn of Tri'n'Swim well, Havens Hospice, Stubbers and H20 magazine meant that ticket sales soared.  Thankyou to everyone else that also kindly donated bottles of plonk, chocolates and bottles of perfume as it is this kind generosity that helps us raise funds for our chosen charities.

So lets tell  you a little about our chosen charities.

Our first being the RNLI.
Completely non-government funded, the RNLI need £17,000 by August 2012 and £75,000 by the end of 2012 to help with the build of a new boathouse and slipway adjacent to Southend Pier and which will speed up their response time for swimmers in difficulty.  So right on our home ground, this charity holds a soft spot in all our hearts.

Next one up is Essex Search & Rescue.
Another non-government funded charity that relies totally on its donations to ensure that all the volunteers are equipped and trained professionally in the tough job they are frequently faced with.  If your child did not return home from school one day, you would want to know that the team out there searching for your loved one is equipped with the best resources for the task ahead.  So again, a very worthwhile charity.

So, a big thank you from me for enabling us to send both some money.

But, lets not forget what the evening was really about.  A chance to meet your fellow Redcaps with their clothes on for a change!  My goodness, didn't we look different.  Gone were the shivering, blue, goose bumped bodies that we are all used to seeing and hey presto, we don't arf scrub up well dont we?

Here's Ben, our Club Captain filling everyone in on the challenge that six of our members will be attempting this summer.  I hope he sobers up before the day tho.  So, over and out for now, and looking forward to the first Crowstone Crawl next Sunday.  Bring on the Sunshine.  See you all next week.

From Left to right, (in the shadows) Helen Wildin, our Social Secretary, Derrick Griffiths, Lorraine Rate, our Ladies Captain, Mike Grout, our challenge T'shirt designer and Ben Jacques, our Club Captain.

Friday, 13 April 2012


Last week saw the letter of approval finally go off to the PLA for our forthcoming charity challenge.  No news yet, but here is a copy of the letter that I am waiting a reply to.

                                    5 April 2012

Mrs L Rate
5 Raymonds Close
South Woodham Ferrers
CM3 5NZ.

07773 952323
Captain Roy Stanbrook
PLA Harbour Master
Port of London Authority
London River House
Royal Pier Road
DA12 2BG

Dear Mr Stanbrook

I am writing to you on the recommendation of Mr Den Freeman (Southend RNLI) to seek your advice and support with regards to our proposed forthcoming Charity Swim Challenge from Southend-on-Sea, Essex (approximate location 51.5347 N, 0.6938 E) to Allhallows, Kent (approximate location 51.479 N, 0.6437 E) and back again on 15th July 2012, (weather permitting or nearest possible date thereafter). The high tide on the 15th July 2012 is predicted to be at 0935 GMT with a height of 4.8m (at Southend) with a swimmable depth of water available approximately 3 hour before high tide to 3 hours after it. This tide was chosen as it is close to a neap tide therefore with less flow of water compared to a larger tide.

We understand that the PLA did give approval for this challenge in 2003 to Mr Peter Rae, a member of the Essex Yacht club. He was granted permission by Captain Gordon Dickens and had a successful crossing, both ways.

Following on from our 2011 Christmas Charity Challenge, The Echo newspaper spoke to Martin Garside, spokesman from the Port of London Authority, and I quote, said “Clearly, such an activity does raise potential issues, not least because it would involve the need to cross very busy shipping lanes. “As with any such activity, our primary interest is the safety of anyone taking part in an event and the safety of the many other users of the Thames Estuary.” “Given those safety issues, very careful and detailed discussion with the organisers would be needed to work out an appropriate way forward.”

This response was welcomed by us. As the safety of all our swimmers and the other users of the Thames Estuary is our utmost priority, I am hopeful that discussions can be forthcoming. Primarily, I request your formal approval as we will not undertake this challenge without it.

Whilst we already have on hand kayak support, motorised vessels, life jackets, radio control etc. in place, we clearly also need to undertake expert advice on safety requisites. The RNLI have advised we should have one motorised craft per two swimmer ratio in addition to the one on one kayak support.

We fully intend to keep the Southend RNLI, the Southend Foreshore Office and Chalkwell Lifeguards informed at all times with our proposed plans.

The reason for our challenge is to raise money for Southend RNLI to assist in the new boathouse project PF2069. The project is to replace the existing old boathouse and the temporary hovercraft hanger, located on the eastern side of the pier on the seawall, with a new modern facility. The new boathouse will house the D-Class inshore lifeboat, the Search and Rescue Hovercraft and a launching tractor, also giving better facilities for the volunteer crews that give up their time so freely to provide this search and rescue service.

We also have another charity, Essex Search and Rescue whom we aim to also raise a large sum of money as being totally non government funded, rely entirely on donations.

We currently have 14 swimmers who have been training extremely hard throughout the winter for this challenge. From those 14, we intend to choose a maximum of 6 swimmers. Hence our charity title, “6 Swimmers, 6 Hours, only 1 tide”. All our swimmers are experienced open water swimmers and have demonstrated that they are more than capable of swimming the minimum 15km distance required.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the above with you and trust you will get back to me at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

L Rate
Ladies Captain
Chalkwell Redcaps Open Water Swimming Club