Valla link to double-crossing swim attempt of English Channel

Sara Lynch and Thomas Pembroke at Dumaresq Dam, Armidale

Sara Lynch and Thomas Pembroke at Dumaresq Dam, Armidale

THE ENGLISH Channel is considered one of the most difficult bodies of water to swim at the best of times. So why would any person want to attempt what no other person has conquered, a non-stop double-crossing in the month of June, when the currents are at their coldest?

Gifted Armidale student, Thomas Pembroke, will be attempting this challenge. In preparation, Thomas has been training in the cold waters of the Dumaresq Dam at Armidale wearing no more than his speedos and swim cap. He has been acclimatising by having nothing but cold showers and walking about in shorts, t-shirts and thongs.

In 2013, Thomas, although completely under prepared, made a successful single crossing of the English Channel but shortly afterwards was hospitalised suffering from hypothermia and a lacerated throat. In subsequent years, he went on to complete a successful crossing of the Northern Channel, swimming from Northern Ireland to Scotland, and completing long distance swims at Catalina Island, California, and the Molakai Channel in Hawaii.

While completing these swims, Thomas has pushed the boundaries of extremities dealing with strong currents, severe sunburn, jellyfish stings, extreme coldness, sharks and a lack of sleep and he expects much of the same during this next challenge.

Thomas always dedicates his swims to help others less fortunate. He has previously raised money for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and Multiple Sclerosis.

This time, Thomas says he is swimming for an inspirational young girl – the grand-daughter of Valla resident, Pam Mitchell.

“This year I will be swimming for a beautiful and courageous young lady, Sara Lynch. She was 10 years old when she was first diagnosed with the life threatening cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. She has had to endure intense chemotherapy, maintenance chemotherapy, attend the hospital theatres 16 times to have 13 lumber punctures, six bone marrow tests, and to have a port-a-cath inserted, maintained and removed.

Sara’s ordeal has also been extremely difficult for her family, having to lock up their house and move to Sydney for eight months, living between the Sydney Children’s Hospital Cancer wards and Ronald McDonald House, during Sara’s two-year treatment plan.

The Lynchs have had to make many sacrifices during this journey and endure many pressures including psychological, welfare, financial and life restrictions which requires great strength and support.

“I want this swim to recognise the incredible spirit and bravery Sara showed in fighting her cancer and for money raised to be a reward for a very special girl, who should never of had to experience the extreme physical and mental tolls of cancer, “ Thomas said.

  • To support Thomas in his endeavours, go to the website:

All inquiries – Thomas Pembroke- 0411 571-707.