TWO pals are planning to swim across the English Channel to raise at least £10,000 for charity.

Jon Livemore, 27, of Oakley Avenue, Rayleigh , and Chris Cox, 40, from Basildon , will take on the 22-mile challenge in aid of St Lukes Hospice and Southend Cystic Fibrosis Association.

Jon came up with the idea after deciding he wanted to do something a bit different to help a good cause.

He said: “I played rugby from a young age and kept injuring my foot, so I wouldn’t really be able to do anything involving running.

“I kept thinking of what else I could do and started looking for something involving swimming. It all just kind of spiralled form there.”

The building surveyor recently carried out some work at St Luke’s Hospice, on Nethermayne, Basildon, and it was there he met Chris Cox, head of corporate services.

As a keen fundraiser who recently ran the London Marathon, Chris was the ideal team-mate for a relay event in the channel.

The pair will take it in turns to swim an hour each from Shakespeare Beach, in Dover, to Cap Gris-Nez, in France.

Depending on the tide, the busy shipping lane is at least 22 miles across and could take 24 hours to negotiate with the pair taking to the water in the dark.

Chris said: “We’re not just attempting this. We are determined to complete it. I’m obviously nervous but excited as well because it’s such a huge challenge.

“Swimming in the freezing sea is different from training in the pool, but we are just going to have to man up and get in there. Most people are pretty shocked that we are actually going ahead with it.”

With annual running costs in excess of £3million, the thousands of pounds raised will be a huge boost for the hospice, which cares for people with a range of life-limiting illnesses, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, heart failure and aids.

Jon added: “I started going down there having heard of them, but not really knowing much about them.

“They are such wonderful people and those who work there are making such a positive difference.”

The swim is scheduled to take place next September.

To sponsor the pair, visit