70 yr old going for oldest Channel swim

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Tamara Timothy reports

A 70-year-old Guernseyman is attempting to set the record as the oldest man to swim the English Channel.

Retired surgeon Roger Allsopp is heading to Dover on Friday - and is hoping to do the swim next week if the weather holds.

Roger said: "I've been working on this really for four-and-a-half years I suppose, and it really means swimming through the winter, come hail or snow or whatever and just getting in and getting used to the cold - and I've found the cold the hardest thing. I think as you get older it is harder to cope with the cold."

The current record was set by an American man George Brunstad, who was 70 and a few days when he swam the Channel in 2004. He completed the swim in 15 hours and 59 minutes - and Roger is also hoping to get under the 16 hour mark.

The Guernseyman did a previous cross-Channel swim in 2006 when he finished in 15 and a half, but he says next week's time will be very weather dependent.

The 2006 challenge was to raise money for Hope for Guernsey, and as Chairman of the charity Roger is obviously supporting them again.

Roger believes raising more money could help with potentially life-saving research.

He said: "Last time I swam it, it was to finance a pilot study into breast cancer research using the specimens gathered from Guernsey women - that's been so successful and so exciting the results from that that this is to try and buy some real state of the art equipment to take this project forward."

He has a fundraising target of 750,000. Healthspan founder Derek Coates has already promised to donate 250,000 - and the company is aiming to get its customers to raise another 100,000.

But Roger says he does not always need big donations - he would love lots of people to give a little. They can post money or cheques to his home address - but he would like them to include their name and address so he can say thank you.

There is lots more about Roger's training and a chance to donate online on the website http://www.healthspan.co.uk/liveyounger.

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ITV channel Television Logo  17/08/2011

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