16-YEARS ON: English Channel Swim 2020

USD 10000 goal
USD 23286 raised

Campaign Details





We made it to France in  12 HOURS AND 7 MINUTES!

We set off on last Monday evening at 9pm from Samphire Hoe (UK side) and  swam across to France’s Cap Gris-Nez coastline. We swam continuously overnight and braved the cold, jellyfish and strong currents! We swam 3 sets of 1 hour swims each. 

It has been an incredible journey: with incredible team-work, dedication and grit to make this swim a success. It was truly a unique experience that we will never forget.

Thank you so much for your generous support and following us on our journey. We have raised $16k as of today with one week left to fundraise. The Swimming Zebras, Hidden Jellyfish are humbled and extremely grateful for your support.


You can find some photos and more detailed information on our swim below:

  • Team-debrief with our coach Tim and our pilot Stuart.


  • Here is Hector setting off at 9pm from the beach at Samphire Hoe, a 30mins boat ride from Dover. Swimming the first hour in the dark! The conditions were rough: cold water and bumpy waves but a nice current pushing us to France.



  • Dan sets off second – leading the way with a strong and consistent stride

  • Delicious pasta made by Alex fuelled us for the night. It’s 10pm and we have 11 hours to go!


  • 10minutes mark ! A countodwn for each swimmer. Having our team-mates cheering us along made a huge difference to the invidivdual swimmer.

  • The Alexs were up next. Swimming at night was a new challenge, especially when you breathe to the left and see a vast, empty dark ocean! But having the light from the boat shine on you was quite meditative, just you and the small patch of light ahead to keep you focused. I found the water to be very cold.  Longest hour of my life!


  • Second round of swimming was also completely in the dark. Rough conditions as the waves picked up and the water felt very cold. Powering through the early hours of the morning with Haribos, M&S chocolate brownies and other essentials. Hector and Alex had matching Chinese military jackets!


  • As Dan sets off on his third round, the sun starts to rise. Truly a magical experience swimming in the sunrise and seeing the French shores in the distance. Amazingly flat conditions too, like a lake! Alexandre and Dan swimming at sunrise. A truly magical experience.

  • Alex Galimberti is swimming past huge jellyfish but luckily avoids any head-on collision!


  • Hector powering through to the shores of Cap Gris-Nez. An amazing final stride to an incredible 12hours 7 minute swim.

  • The boat ride back to Dover isn’t complete without a celebratory toast !

The map of our swimming journey! There and back in 14 hours....


The funds will be used to provide support to Light House Relief. They have provided below a sense of the current situation in the temporary camp of Kara Tepe and details of how they are handling the devastation from the fire in Moira Camp.

On September 8, fires ravaged Moria Camp, leaving thousands of asylum seekers homeless. For the next ten days, thousands of individuals left homeless from the fires were on the streets, without access to consistent medical care, necessities, food, water. People displaced and re-traumatised were pushed into an even more desperate position. Today, they are now residing in an improvised camp in Kara Tepe approximately 2 km from Mytilene, in an area previously used as an army firing range. The site is exposed to the elements - located right near the sea. According to reports, electricity is not widely available, there is a lack of bedding and other resources.  According to government officials, 6,000 asylum seekers will be transferred from Lesvos to the mainland by Christmas of 2020, and 6,000 by Easter of 2021. 

The day after the fires, our team on Lesvos supported the response in the south of the island with urgently needed items. We delivered over 1,500 bottles of water, dry food such as nuts and biscuits, crates of baby food, and other items to our friends at Because We Carry and Movement On The Ground. Our stock of non-food items is also ready for when other NGOs need items such as clothing. Today, we are identifying the gaps in the response and the biggest needs to see how we can respond both to the emergency but also the long term effects both on Lesvos, and with the people transferred to the mainland. It is clear that the fire on Lesvos will have long-lasting impacts on asylum seekers in terms of material needs but also psychosocial needs, and we are now assessing how to best respond to these needs, and how to fill in the gaps in service provision.


In Ritsona Camp, we are providing psychosocial support to children and youth, as well as launching a formalised Resident Volunteer Programme. In the Resident Volunteer programme, our staff works with members of the Ritsona community to carry out our psychosocial activities, while providing training to Resident Volunteers in topics such as Child Protection, Workshop Facilitation, and Emotional Regulation. This not only positively impacts their wellbeing, but also strengthens our programming, and builds skills that they can use to further their careers.  Psychosocial support is crucial for the 2,900 asylum seekers in Ritsona (many of whom lived in Moria until January 2020) - after months of movement restrictions, and cases of Corona in the camp, the uncertainty and stress of life in camp has become more acute. Funds raised will directly support our team in Ritsona in psychosocial activities, while supporting our team on Lesvos as we assess short-term and long-term needs.  


The Swimming Zebras, Hidden Jellyfish

We are a team of four friends swimming across the English Channel in September 2020: Alexandre Jenn, Alexander Galimberti, Daniel Shailer and Hector Drake. We are attempting this 22+ mile* open-water swim from England to France both as a test of physical endurance, while also as an opportunity to raise money for Lighthouse Relief (LHR). The conditions in the Channel are notoriously challenging: cold waters, strong currents and countless jellyfish to name but a few of the obstacles we will face as we attempt to complete this test of physical and mental endurance from Dover to Calais.


16 years ago three of us – Alexandre, Alexander and Hector – faced off with one another in the inaugural Eton v Harrow Cross-Channel Swim Race. Since then this European trio – from France, Liechtenstein and the UK – have all lived in China for the better part of a decade, where we went from erstwhile swimming rivals to becoming good friends. Having recently returned to London, we saw this swim as a hallmark challenge for us to re-unite and rally support for a good cause. Daniel – who weeks ago completed the swim across the Channel on his own – joins us as our fourth team member.


We are raising money for Lighthouse Relief (LHR), an award-winning non-profit organisation which provides emergency relief to refugees arriving on the north shore of Lesvos. Alexander and some of the Jenn family volunteered with the NGO in early 2017 where they supported work on the frontline including providing first aid to people after they landed on Lesvos, monitoring the coastline for endangered boats and supporting the community to clean their beaches. They worked hand-in-hand with locals from Skala Sikaminea – who were nominated for a Nobel peace prize for their efforts – retirees from the UK, firefighters from Canada, students from Spain and former refugees, one of whom endured a far more gruelling swim across the strait from Turkey to Greece – even dragging a friend with limited swimming skills across with him – to seek medical treatment.


This is just as much a mental challenge as it is a test of physical strength. We are incredibly grateful for any support you can give us for this worthy cause. Any amount, big or small, is appreciated. You can donate easily via the link below.


We will be posting live updates from our actual swim on this page.

Thank you,


Alexandre Jenn, Alexander Galimberti, Daniel Shailer and Hector Drake



*While the shortest distance between the UK and France is 22 miles, swimmers can deviate from this path as a result of currents and other factors, thereby increasing the distance of the swim.

Additional Information

What Lighthouse Relief (LHR) will use the money for

Funds raised will support Lighthouse Relief's teams in Ritsona Camp and on Lesvos. Funds will primarily go toward supporting LHR's psychosocial activities in Ritsona Camp where LHR operates a Child Friendly Space and a Youth Engagement Space. There, children and youth can access support, engage in creative activities and workshops, and pursue their own independent creative projects. Funds will be used to purchase necessary provisions including water and sanitation supplies to keep activities safe; craft materials; and so on. These funds may also go toward supporting the small team on Lesvos, currently focusing on sharing the stock of non-food items with other organisations on the island, as well as making food and hygiene packs for any new arrivals, who are now kept in a quarantine camp on the north shore for a minimum of two weeks.


Information on the current refugee crisis in Greece

  • Currently, there are over 121,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Greece. Almost 3,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently reside in Ritsona Camp. Since March, the camp has been placed under movement restrictions, severely limiting the access to formal education for children and youth, as well as limiting consistent access to necessities outside the camp. Since four weeks, LHR has restarted our activities in the camp, rebuilding and reopening our safe spaces for children and youth. 
  • From January to July 2020, approximately 8,400 people have arrived to the Aegean Islands by sea, compared to 17,900 last year (UNHCR). From April to August 2020, approximately 543 people have landed on the north shore of Lesvos. Now, groups who arrive on the north shore are kept near the landing site, tested for COVID-19 and moved to a quarantine camp, which has very few resources (no running water or electricity). While the quarantine period is meant to be two weeks, many groups have been kept in the quarantine camp for well over a month. 
  • Some 27,900 refugees and asylum-seekers reside on the Aegean islands. Women account for 22% of the population, and children for 31% of whom nearly 7 out of 10 are younger than 12 years old. Approximately 12% of the children are unaccompanied or separated, mainly from Afghanistan (UNHCR Data).


Press coverage:

1. The inaugural Eton v Harrow Cross-Channel swim race


2. Our September 2020 Channel Swim



Channel Swimming Training


Volunteering at Lighthouse Relief (LHR)

The Korakas lighthouse on the north shore of Lesbos after which LHR is named. People
fleeing from Turkey to Greece often use small "zodiacs" and attempt to cross the strait at
night. The lighthouse is used to guide them to shore, tragically they are not aware of
the perils the lighthouse is trying to warn boats of.

Abandoned vessels left next to the lighthouse shown above. These boats are purchased
in Turkey and then used to attempt the 10km Mytilini strait which separates Greece from
Turkey and then left on the shore. LHR helps clean the coast line to support the local
community which has seen tourism decimated due to the refugee crisis.

Supporting bringing refugee belongings from a local resuce boat ashore. The rescue boat
belongs to another local NGO with whom LHR works closely with. The conditions in
the Mytilini strait are brutally cold in late January when these refugees arrived in Lesbos.

On our way to rebuild a shelter above Korakas lighthouse. The shelter is used by LHR
volunteers to help spot vessels - particularly at night - which are at risk of crashing
into the rocks below the lighthouse and endangering all people aboard.




Funds raised on this page will go to:

Alex Jenn

Alex is swimming the Channel in September 2020 with 3 friends to raise money for Light House Relief (LHR), a non-profit that provides humanitarian and psychological support to refugees in Greece.

Get Perks
  • Open Water Swimming Coaching With Hector

    USD 100      Service

    Hector is offering a 1-on-1 open water coaching session for one lucky individual. Having spent the past few years training in Hong Kong as part of the LRC and competing in open water races and pool competitions, Hector will undoubtedly help improve novices or experienced open water swimmers alike.

    Note: all perks are part of our raffle for individuals who donate USD 100 or more. *Please select whether you would like to be eligible for a given prize.* We will send out an email to everyone announcing winners of the raffle at the end of September.

    0 claimed

  • State-of-the-art Underwater Streaming Audio Headset From Zygo

    USD 100      Physical

    Zygo has kindly donated one of their newly-released streaming audio headsets. You can use this not only to listen to stream music while you’re swimming, coaches can also speak into their device and provide you with on-the-go swimming feedback. One lucky individual will receive a Zygo in our raffle.

    More information on this Zygo headset can be found here:

    Note: all perks are part of our raffle for individuals who donate USD 100 or more. *Please select whether you would like to be eligible for a given prize.* We will send out an email to everyone announcing winners of the raffle at the end of September.

    6 claimed

  • Chinese Cooking Class & Dinner With Hector, Alexandre & Alexander

    USD 100      Service

    Join the three of us for a cooking class - either in-person in London or via Zoom - and a subsequent dinner. We will help you cook a 4-course Chinese meal with some of our favouite dishes including ganbian sijidou, mapo dofu, shuizhuyu. Having all spent a long time in China, we’re excited to share some of our favourite dishes with you.

    Note: all perks are part of our raffle for individuals who donate USD 100 or more. *Please select whether you would like to be eligible for a given prize.* We will send out an email to everyone announcing winners of the raffle at the end of September.

    9 claimed