Hastings & St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club
Hastings & St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club

HLG 50th Anniversary & Channel Swim Challenge 2022


We are seeking support in this venture to raise awareness of not just our club but the role of other voluntary lifeguard clubs and, of course raising funds.


The funds we raise will be going towards a new rescue boat.


In the Club's 50th year, we have taken on the huge challenge of swimming the channel. We have 5 club members in the relay team and they are prepared and ready to go!

The Team:

I have been a member of Hastings Voluntary Lifeguards for way more years than I wish to remember! The club has been a massive part of my and my family’s life. My wife and my daughters have been part of the club too. I have learned so much throughout my time at the club, covered so many events, taken, retaken so many awards and been part of so many fund raising events.
This year the club is 50 years old and to celebrate this we are doing a channel swim relay (we also are trying to raise money to replace our rescue boat)
Little bit about me.- I am nearly 60 years old. Hold beach and pool lifeguard qualifications, I also train and assess these qualifications. I love training and am a committed runner (5x marathon des sable competitor) swimmer ( channel relay, Windermere, 36 hours non stop) triathlete (Ironman) climber ( Kilimanjaro) plus I kayak rock climb, pothole etc. one day I may grow up but don’t hold your breath!!!
Please support our channel swim both by following our progress and donating to our new rescue boat. Thank you for reading this, sharing it and supporting us.
Sophie grew up in Hastings and was an active, fully able-bodied competitive swimmer for many years. As a teenager she was also a member of the Hastings Voluntary Lifeguards and not only learned a lot but completed her National Pool Lifeguard Qualification and National Beach Lifeguard Qualification with the club. The lifeguard club introduced her to open water swimming and in 2008 at the age of 16 she joined the club for a Cross Channel Relay swim. Sadly, for the first time in her life she suffered with sea sickness and continued to be sea sick for more than 14 hours – the whole swim. Since then, she has wanted the chance to go back and try again, 15 years later she is finally getting her chance thanks to the lifeguard club, but this time has more challenges for her than just sea sickness.
In 2011 Sophie was involved in a cycling accident, which resulted in a long diagnostic process before finally being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome; one of the most painful conditions in the world in late 2012.
Suddenly finding herself struggling to walk and in constant pain was tough. She struggled with being constantly exhausted and to put the cherry on the top; due to hypersensitivity she was unable to wear trousers or leave the house if it was windy because it was too painful for her.
She went from an open water swimmer and triathlete to wheelchair user in under a year and for the first time in her life, was unable to swim because it was too painful.
It took several years of struggling with different medications, physiotherapy appointments, hospital stays, falling into a deep depression and a pain management programme. It wasn’t an easy journey back into the water and it was about 6 months before she could even get in the local leisure centre pool and start swimming again but, as soon as she did she knew it was where she was meant to be. She quickly discovered that she was no longer able to kick her legs so all her swimming was going to be using only her upper-body but it hasn’t stopped her.
Since then (2016) she has gone on to create and run one of the only support networks for open water swimmers with disabilities – ADOWS (Adaptive & Disabled Open Water Swimmers). Sophie is now one of the main campaigners for more inclusive and accessible open water swimming and has worked with several organisations to help them improve the accessibility at their events, she is also now a contributor for The Outdoor Swimmer Magazine. She is a long-distance swimmer and always wants to push her limits with bigger and better swims. Her biggest swim to date being Lake Windermere Two Way (21 miles) which she completed in 2021 in a time of 16 hours and 41 minutes. Earlier this year took on the BLDSA Champion of Champions in Dover and on 10th July she is going to be part of the first disabled duo to take on the unlimited swim event at The Outdoor Swim Festival in Henley.
Now hoping to swim the channel solo in the future she can’t wait to get out there and swim!
Please support Sophie and our club - thank you from the Channel Swim team
Hi, I’m Lee,
I’ve been with the club for 15 years now.
During this time I’ve gained a number of aquatic and first aid based qualifications. This has helped me gaining the experience for my current job within the ambulance service.
Over the years I have been part a myriad of events, ranging from rowing regattas, sea swims, safety in action and many many more!
I’ve been involved in precious fund raising events for the club too, such as, a solo boat pull along Hastings seafront, part of the 72 hour swim challenge and most recently running the Hastings half marathon in a dry suit.
I’m ecstatic about having the opportunity to swim the English Channel as this has been a goal of mine for a long time. The fact I get to do it with friends is an even bigger bonus.
Hastings Voluntary Lifeguards have given me heaps of skills and just as many fun experiences.
If you’re curious about lifesaving skills I would highly recommend checking out all this great club had to offer.
Thanks for reading and I do hope that you can support our venture.
Hi Everyone,
I’m Lee C, the other Lee in the Channel Swim Team 2022!
I’ve been a member of the Club for a good number of years now and enjoy taking part in our Club events and delivering and assessing our vocational training courses.
As many of you will know, I’m privileged to be in and around water as part of my day job as a Swimming Teacher! I have always had a passion and love for the water and working with the children and Schools in our local area helps me to educate and spread the message of water safety.
The channel swim is a massive personal challenge for me and will certainly test me in many ways but I’m really looking forward to it!
Get behind us by sponsoring us and helping us to raise money for our voluntary club. The club needs to replace our rescue boat so every donation will help!
I am an artist and a lifeguard. This year I undertook the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification through Hastings Voluntary Lifeguard Club and have assissisted the team lifeguarding at public events since.
I enjoy the sea and am a keen athlete. I swim regularly and am dedicated to training for the channel swim crossing. I also windsurf and have been developing my fitness with both sports.
An interesting fact about me: I ‘rescued Elton John’ in the film Biopic Rocketman, acting as a synchronized swimmer, represented by the agency Aquabatix.
As an artist I work with lgbtqia+ communities and organizations. I have performed in Queer festivals at Tate Britain and Barbican Centre and continue to work with educational institutions, charities and art organisations.
I am looking forward to the channel swim challenge, in order to raise money for a new rescue boat and to celebrate Hastings & St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club’s 50th Anniversary! Thank you for inviting me to be a member of the team. Dean, Sophie, Lee, Lee and Di - I can’t wait! - I just hope we get to start the swim after 6am ?
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Diary Dates 2024:

Sunday 21st July 2024

Hastings Rowing Regatta

Saturday 27th July 2024

Emergency Services Day

Saturday 10th August 2024

Hastings Carnival

Sat 10th & Sun 11th August 2024

Rural Past Times

Sunday 1st September 2024

1066 Triathlon

Sunday 15th September 2024

Sea Swim

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Use 'Give As You Live' to help raise funds for the Club - Search --> Hastings & St. Leonards Voluntary Lifeguards

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