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Vet to tackle the Channel for charity

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: June 29, 2009

swimmer: vet Oliver Wilkinson 33, from Prestbury

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A HARDY vet is preparing to tackle the English Channel for charity.

Oliver Wilkinson, 33, from Prestbury, is raising money for Pancreatic Cancer UK and the Sandford Park Lido.

He is aiming to complete the 30-mile swim in 10 hours later this year.

Oliver, from The Burgage, said: "My father-in-law underwent an operation for pancreatic cancer last year, so I hope to raise some money for that cause.

"Equally, the Lido is a fantastic facility and it is important that people continue to support it."

Oliver, who is originally from Melbourne, Australia, said he hopes to raise £2,500 for each of his two nominated charities.

He has lived in Cheltenham for nine years and will tackle the swim between September 11 and 16, depending on tides.

He said: "I love training. I swim in the Lido and in lakes and sometimes go down to Dover to swim in the sea.

"People say it might be colder in the Channel than in Melbourne Bay, but I hope, with the time of year, it won't be too cold.

"Part of the rules say you can't wear a wetsuit so I'll be in Speedos and greased up to keep the cold out."

Earlier this month Oliver triumphed in the nine-mile Champion of Champions race in Dover Harbour.

He completed the race in three hours, 39 minutes and earlier this year won a sprint at the Lido.

Oliver is keeping a diary, or blog, of his training on the internet for friends and sponsors to read.

He said: "It is a good way of letting people see that I am putting the hours in for their sponsor money."

In one blog entry, he writes: "The opening of the Lido has meant most of my training now is in this wonderful outdoor 50m pool and I am enjoying the cold mornings and still relatively quiet attendance."

To read updates on Oliver's training, or to sponsor him, visit www.olliechannelswim2009.blogspot.com

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