Guest Blog: Kevin Langstaff on The Light Fund Channel Swim 2022

GB eye’s Kevin Langstaff updates on the team’s continued preparations for The English Channel Relay Swim 2022, in aid of The Light Fund, and there’s news of a tasty collaboration.


There is a popular misconception that swimming is a solo challenge. I can assure you this is far from the truth. The act of swimming is indeed entirely down to the individual, but the support required to be successful involves many. As a team we are sacrificing so much to train, and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that’s supporting us as we pursue this crazy dream of swimming to France.

In 1991 I was involved in a motorbike accident that left me fighting for my life. I broke my leg in 18 places, smashed my hip joint, tore my femoral artery and destroyed my knee. I was in hospital for 15 weeks. At this point I was told I would never walk again and would be in a wheelchair for life. It took me around two years to learn to walk again. Quote time… no one puts baby in the corner.

Some 15 operations later I am now a ‘Tony Stark’-style part metal man and under guidance (sort of) from the genius that finally fixed me, I’ve ignored common sense and decided to swim to France. As my Mum once asked “why?” and as I answered, “if I can walk again, I can swim”.

As a group we are all doing this for our own reasons, but I can honestly say the team are phenomenally focused and so supportive. Failing isn’t even discussed – if it takes us 30 hours we will stand on the beach in France. This week alone I was joined in the beautiful River Nidd in Yorkshire by Stephen Gould (Wee Hof) who spent close to 10 hours in the car to coach me.

Just to make sure this is as difficult as possible, I couldn’t swim front crawl 12 months ago. Stephen has remotely guided me, and countless hours in the pools and lakes of Yorkshire has served me well. Like the rest of the team, I successfully completed the Bournemouth qualifier (one hour swim, break for an hour and swim for another hour); it was tough, think swimming in the washing machine and you get the idea. Anne Bradford summed up the swim in her blog last month, but worth pointing out in the last few weeks the beach we swam from was closed by the RNLI and council due to ‘large marine wildlife’. Makes you think!

Team training to date has seen temperatures from 1.5C to a balmy 21C. We have swum in rivers, lakes, pools and the sea for pleasure and in competition. Personally, I have now covered over 70 training miles. I guess as a team we will have clocked up well over 500 miles, enough combined to get us to Frankfurt.

So why are we doing this and where can you help? The Light Fund is a lifeline to so many and every year our amazing industry changes the lives of people without hesitation, donating and making a difference. This year is no different, but I have worked on giving you something back in exchange for your support (donations).

York-based micro brewery, another, has created two special beers for the challenge.
York-based micro brewery, another, has created two special beers for the challenge.

One evening after a beer or three I had an epiphany of thought. As well as swimming, I love craft beer and decided to broadcast via my Instagram account to the brewers I follow. The request was simple – who wants to brew some beer for us to sell for charity? The amazing James and Roxy at ‘another’ micro-brewery in York were quick to respond and for the last few months we have been working together to deliver two beers.

These beers will be available in December (November brewing) and named in honour of the pilot boats supporting us across the channel – High Hopes (High Hops) and Optimist (Hoptimist).

These beers are going on sale with 50% of the profits going straight to The Light Fund. These are bespoke branded artwork 440ml cans featuring our very own swimmer Simon Gresswell (aka Beaver) and GetBuzzing sponsor Kate Wallace. Cases of 6, 12 or 24 are available to order via the website,

James and Roxy (pictured with Stephen and Kevin) have named the beers in honour of the two pilot boats supporting the swimmers across the channel.
James and Roxy (pictured with Stephen and Kevin) have named the beers in honour of the two pilot boats supporting the swimmers across the channel.

James and Roxy run a microbrewery that isn’t in our industry, but have embraced my madness to make this happen. This is an opportunity to support the charity, help me fulfil a dream to brew beer with professionals -and ultimately raise money to make a difference.

The first brew of 14,000 cans is happening in November and the swim team will be there to lend a hand. Post brew, we might even tempt James and Roxy into a lake for a swim…

The first brew of 14,000 cans is happening in November.
The first brew of 14,000 cans is happening in November.

Please show your continued support and treat yourself to a beer or 12 (or more) in the name of The Light Fund.

Twitter @thelightfund

Instagram @the_light_fund




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