CHILDREN from Lavington School have been planning on swimming the English Channel to raise money for CURE Leukaemia in support of fellow student Archie Stradling who suffers from the disease.

This week three teams of six students including one with parents are ready to swim to France in a relay of one hour swims. As each swimmer finishes their hour another takes over from the support boat.

The first team of six set off yesterday in the early hours with another later in the day depending on the tides, sea and weather conditions, with the final team hoping to cross by the weekend.

The Market Lavington students follow the guidelines from the Channel Swims Association that governs what can be worn, pre-swim training and which pilot boats must be used.

Mitchel Mason, 13, said: "We have spent a year training in preparation including night sea swims and winter sea swims in temperatures as low as eight degrees. I have done two two hour qualification swims five days apart in 14 degrees in May and June."

Parent Leazan Mason, 44, who is in one of the teams said: "During the May holiday a few children and parents went to Dover for three nights for boat training and sea swimming in the harbour.

"During my swim I got stung on my face and shoulder, this is a common occurrence swimming the Channel. It’s not easy swimming in cold water knowing you will be cold for hours afterwards."

The Swim group Beyond the Blue in Poole have helped with seawater swim training during the winter. The crossing can take a relay team between 13-16 hours depending on the tides and conditions with solo swimmers usually an hour slower. So far the students have raised more than £5,000 for the charity with more money promised if they complete the swim. To donate: