Wing mother conquers the Channel raising thousands to fight bowel cancer

A mother from Wing and her friend from university joined forces to swim the Channel and raise thousands for a bowel cancer charity.

Gail Taylor and her friend, Teresa Hogsbjerg from Godalming in Surrey, swum across the Channel together for Bowel Cancer UK.

They completed the mammoth swim as part of a two-person relay and the pair have already raised nearly £8,000 for charity.

Gail and Teresa were motivated to conquer the cold waters after they lost yet another university friend to the terrible disease.

Gail Taylor and Teresa Hogsbjerg

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The pair lost their close friend Claire at just 30 years age. She was the mother of a young child.

Another of Gail’s closest friends, Natalie Humphris, was also taken by the disease at just 31. So they chose to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK in memory of their late friends.

The two swimmers set off from the British shore between Dover and Folkestone just before sunset on Sunday (26 June).

It wasn’t until Monday afternoon that the two swimmers reached a beach in France, more than 15 hours after.

Just one day later, the high profile death of Dame Deborah James was confirmed (27 June).

The columnist had long campaigned about the perils of the cancer, raising awareness through her book, podcasts and television appearances.

Gail and Teresa have been friends for over 20 years and had been discussing the Channel swim for at least 10 of them.

Life got in the way, especially with both having families, so it only became a reality in 2020 when the boat was finally booked.

The pair said: “There was nothing in our heads other than getting to the other side.

"We always knew we would, because we could not let each other down.

"The friendship we have had over 21 years has taught us many things and this latest adventure taught us that anything is possible and that teamwork makes the dream work.

“The memories of our friends who lost their lives to bowel cancer came into our thoughts many times on our journey across.

"We started on what would have been Claire’s 40th birthday which in itself was amazing.

"At some point during the night, we saw a huge shooting star, possibly Natalie giving us a push in what was a particularly tough part of the swim."