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Gibraltar Straits Swim

The first of the swims was the Southern swim from Europe to Africa and will be the Gibraltar Straits. This was where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet and is the historic point between Europe and Africa.

The Distance 
The geographical distance is about 8 miles.
The swim started in Tarifa Island and landed in the vicinity of Punta Cires having to swim  12 nautical miles (22 kilometres)

Information
This swim had been on my dream list for decades and  proved elusive to get organised and the windy conditions when we were over there made the wait even longer . We eventually got to swim the Strait and it was a great feeling achieveing one of the worlds great swims.

English Channel Two Way Swim Attempt

The West swim was the world blue ribbon event for distance swimming - UK mainland to France - the English Channel. This is where the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea ..I decide to make the swim a two way attempt.Something that is still rarely achieved and having travelled 92.3 milesover 41 hours 44 miles I passed out through exhausion with less than a mile left to go to get back to the UK having already swum to France hitting some poor weather and taking 19 hours.

The Distance 
The geographically distance 44 miles in a straight line but being pulled by the tides made the travelled distance 92.3 miles.

British heart Foundation

My support of the British Heart Foundation goes back many years to when I undertook swimathons alongside my father following his first bi-pass operation (younger than my current age). He has gone on to have a number of stents and totalled eight bi-passes (2no. triples and a double) and we are so grateful to the technology of the BHF for his continued company.

Following the premature death of my brother-in-law from a heart attack in 2003 I undertook a number of triathlons (including an Ironman) and my first marathon (with my sister) in his memory for the benefit of the British Heart Foundation.

Early in 2016 Mark (Sheppy) ,a friend & mentor, tragically died of a heart condition. He was my Captain as we played Water Polo together for a number of successful teams for over 20 years growing up . He was also there for advice during my original Channel swim in 2007. A leader in & out of the water who not only had a passion for a full life he also had a love and talent for swimming & he will be with me throughout the swims

BHF vision couldn’t be more ambitious - a world where people no longer die prematurely from heart disease.But it can’t be done alone. BHF are working alongside government, other health charities, health professionals and thousands of dedicated supporters to beat heart disease.


English Channel Swim Video

When I set out on this Two-way attempt of the English Channel on 24th August 2016 I was expecting a crossing in the region of 26 to 30 hours but as many who watched the boat tracker amazingly from all around the World an epic swim unfolded over two days and nights only for me to fall so agonisingly short. Below is a brief match report covering the key stages of the swim and my thoughts during 42 hour and 92.3-miles travelling and how I feel about that elusive last mile

2015:CODGERS WORLD TOUR (Belguim leg)

CODGERS WORLD TOUR (Belguim leg)

The sixth in the Codgers World Tour Series took the Codgers Mick , Dickie and Oggie to Belgium in a bid to cross the width of Belgium from Arlon to Ostend in only 3 days starting 23rd May 2015. The event was a self supported challenge (ie. Carry kit required to get from one end to the other)

Though poor panning and poor map reading the Codgers cycled 140 miles on the first day through some hilly and rolling terrain . The posititve hwoever was the guys finished the challenge in only 2 days rather than the oriniginally planned 3 days.

The Torsie Lymphoma Research Fund 

On the morning of her college graduation, Torsie was taken to the ER for severe pain and a high fever. She was then transferred to the Cleveland Clinic, where she received the surprising diagnosis that she had a very rare cancer. Shortly after the diagnosis, Torsie began chemotherapy in preparation for a bone marrow transplant. Days before the transplant, doctors discovered a brain tumor. She spent the last year of her life waging a valiant battle at Cleveland Clinic until her passing on May 7, 2015, surrounded by her family.

"Torsie was an incredibly vibrant young girl. She was positive and optimistic throughout a very challenging process,” said Dr. Jagadeesh. With a smile on her face, she fought against odds, battling her disease with a tenacity that inspired everyone who crossed her path.

Torsie’s experience illustrates how access to research is critical. Team Torsie invites you to join the fight, honor her memory, and make a difference in the lives of patients like Torsie by making a gift of any level. Her spirit and her love will carry on through you- as will her determination to defeat this disease.

2014:CODGERS WORLD TOUR (French leg)

CODGERS WORLD TOUR (French leg

This was the fifth in the Codgers World Tour Series having already cycled the length of the UK from John O’Groats to lands end in 8 days (2010), London to Paris in a day (2011) , the width of the UK at its widest point in 2 days (2012) and the length of Ireland in 3 days (2013)

2014 saw the Codgers World Tour head for Europe with the French coast to coast challenge being the target.

The event was a self supported ride (ie carry all sleeping, eating cycling kit) from Montpellier to Calais which is a hilly 550 miles. The codgers completed the challenge is 5.5  days.

Cycling over 100 miles day after day on this terrain is tough but surviving a night in a tent and a Codgers cooked meals will be of equal challenge!

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-shortening inherited disease, affecting almost 10,000 people in the UK, clogging vital organs with thick sticky mucus. There is presently no cure. We are the UK’s only national charity working for families with CF and to find a cure.

www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk
Cystic Fibrosis Trust Registered charity number 1079049

2013:SWIM JERSEY

SWIM JERSEY

Following a break of three years since his last major swimming challenge Mick decided to get back into the cold water to take on a swim at the top of his wish list.

The 40+ mile swim around Jersey has only been completed by a handful of people (Mick was No.86 in 11hrs 20 minutes) The swim around Jersey is subject to huge tidal changes and means that many swims will not take place if the conditions dictate the rocks around the island cannot be navigated safely.

Prostate Cancer UK

Prostate Cancer UK fights to help more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. With three priorities:

• Supporting men and providing information
• Finding answers by funding research 
• Leading change to raise awareness and improve care supporting men and providing information

Prostate Cancer UK fund research into tests, treatments and the causes of prostate cancer. Over the years, research in this area has been badly underfunded. Prostate Cancer UK are changing this. 

Swim Jersey

This a video of Mick's successful solo swim around Jersey (11th August 2013) becoming the 86th person to do so and in a time of 11 hours and 20 minutes. Supported all the way round by his family on dry land ,along with friends who lived on the Island and his teenage sons as part of his crew.

2013:CODGERS WORLDTOUR (Ireland leg)

CODGERS WORLDTOUR (Ireland leg)

This was Mick and Og’s fourth codgers tour of duty . For this challenge they took on the hills and unexpected heat of Ireland to encounter the beauty of cycling from Mizen Head to Malin Head. As the crow flies, the two points are 466 km (290 miles) apart. The road distance from Malin to Mizen is between 644 and 715 km (400 and 444 miles). The “boys” aggressive challenge did this in 3 days rather than the usual 5 to 7 days and set off on 7th June 2013.

Leaving from Malin Head the most northerly point of Ireland, we set out on this 400 mile ride down through Donegal,Fermanagh, Galway,Limerick, and Kerry before riding through into County Cork and finally ending at the most south westerly point of Ireland, Malin Head.

Prostate Cancer UK

Prostate Cancer UK fights to help more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. With three priorities:

• Supporting men and providing information
• Finding answers by funding research
• Leading change to raise awareness and improve care supporting men and providing information

Prostate Cancer UK fund research into tests, treatments and the causes of prostate cancer. Over the years, research in this area has been badly underfunded. Prostate Cancer UK are changing this.

CODGERS WORLD TOUR (Ireland Leg) Trailer video

This was a video produced to help publicise the event.

2012:London 2012 Paralympics Torch Relay

London 2012 Paralympics Torch Relay

Following the excitement of the Best Olympic Games ever in London 2012 I was fortunate enough to be nominated and selected to carry the Paralympics torch as part of the unique 24 hour relay from Stoke Mandeville Hospital to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

I felt very privileged to be asked to participate in this event and as the nomination was associated with the fund raising efforts of these charity challenges I have included them on this website to say thank you to each of the people who has helped make my nomination & selection possible. Whether it was through donations, being part of an event I’ve done, part of support crew or given words of wisdom/motivation – Thank you.

Date: 28 August 2012

Time: 11:04PM

Where: Aylesbury on Wendover Road

HISTORY

The Paralympics beginnings were as a rehabilitation programme for British war veterans with spinal injuries.

Back in 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttman, a neurologist who was working with World War II veterans with spinal injuries at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, began using sport as part of the rehabilitation programmes of his patients.

He set up a competition with other hospitals to coincide with the London Olympics in that year.

Over the next decade Guttman's care plan was adopted by other spinal injury units in Britain and competition grew.

In 1960, the Olympics were held in Rome, and Guttmann brought 400 wheelchair athletes to the Olympic city to compete. The modern Parallel Olympics (or "Paralympics") were born.

2012:CODGERS WORLD TOUR (UK Side to Side)

CODGERS WORLD TOUR (UK Side to Side)

After cycling night and day through some very challenging wet and windy weather (including the flooding in Wales) ,with only brief rest and food stops, the Codgers completed the epic 370 mile charity bike ride across the UK from Pembroke Castle ,Wales to Britannia Pier ,Great Yarmouth in 46 hours 46 minutes and 10 seconds.

It goes without saying this is a LONG time in the saddle cycling virtually continuously however the cause (Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital) is such a great one that it makes our post-ride John Wayne style walking all worth while!

The Royal Marsden Hospital

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity raises money to help The Royal Marsden provide world-class care for cancer patients, and to support the hospital’s pioneering work in cancer research and education.

2011:CODGERS WORLD TOUR (Arch to Arc in 24 Hours)

CODGERS WORLD TOUR (Arch to Arc in 24 Hours)

Wind and rain were not enough to stop the endurance team “24” from smashing their 24 hour target for racing between London and Paris.
The team of cyclists set out from Marble Arch, London at 3:30pm on Friday and arrived at the Arch D’ Triomphe, Paris, at 1:30pm (GMT) the next day having cycled through the night to complete the 200 mile distance.
The team made up of cyclists Mickey Helps, Richard Crompton, David Keoshgerian, Paul Hoskins and support driver Bernie Hoskins were pleased with their finish time of 22 hours 01 minute and 05 seconds. 

East Anglia Children's Hospice

EACH support families and care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Their care and support is tailored for the needs of all family members and delivered where the families wish – in their own home, at hospital, in the community or at one of three hospices in Ipswich, Milton and Quidenham.

CODGERS WORLD TOUR (Arch to Arc in 24 Hours)

This is our journey from Marble Arch (London,UK) to Arc d'Triomphe (Paris ,France) for the Charity EACH (East Anglia Children's Hospice). To make it a challenge worth sponsoring (in addition to the great cause) we decided to do it in less than 24 hours from start to finish rather than the usual 3 or 5 days.


2011:MARATHON DES SABLES

MARATHON DES SABLES

The Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) is one of the most grueling sporting events in the world - a six-day, 255km (155-mile) ultra marathon across the Sahara desert in southern Morocco in temperatures of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit 

Known as the toughest footrace on the planet 

MENCAP

Mencap is the leading UK charity for people with a learning disability. Every day Mencap helps thousands of people with a learning disability, their families and carers. Mencap provide support services and campaign so that people with a learning disability have equal opportunities to live life the way they want.

"LONG & HOT" The Toughest Footrace on the Planet

A Summary videos of Mick's successful partisipation in the 26th Marathon Des Sables 

2010:SEA6 CHANNEL RELAY

SEA6 CHANNEL RELAY

There are few challenges that can stand the test of time. With science and technology many great challenges are not undertaken on the same basis as the original pioneers who first dreamed them possible.

Not so Swimming the English Channel. When Captain Matthew Webb swam the Channel in 1875 he had one costume, hat, goggles and grease. For the crossing to be recognised officially today the same restrictions apply. 

SPARKS

Sparks is a unique children's charity dedicated to funding research into the prevention, treatment and cure for conditions and illnesses affecting children, babies and expectant mothers. Sparks aim is for ALL babies to be born healthy and stay healthy. Since 1991, Sparks has committed over £18 million to fund research into conditions such as childhood cancer, childhood arthritis, meningitis, club foot, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and all the risks associated with premature birth.

SEA6 Channel Relay

The is the video of SEA6 swim across the English Channel on 21st July 2010 in aid of the children's charity SPARKS. Great fun,Great squad, Great cause! 

2010:CODGERS WORLD TOUR(UK leg)

Codger's World Tour (UK leg)

There are few challenges that can stand the test of time however cycling the length of the UK from John O’Groats to Lands end is as demanding and the same distance today as it was when the first recorded trip took place in 1879 by Robert Carlyle.

mStarting 31st May 2010 Paul Hoskins and Mick Helps cycled the 876 mile route in seven days to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Alzheimers Society

Dementia can happen to anyone and there's currently no cure. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and the number is set to rise to 1 million by 2021.

At Alzheimer's Society, they believe passionately that life doesn't end when dementia begins and are there for anyone affected by dementia. They do everything they can to keep people with dementia connected to their lives and the people who matter most. 

Codger's World Tour (UK leg)

This is the tour video of Mick and Pauls 'Codgers World Tour (UK leg)'. They cycled the length of the UK from John O'Groats to Landsend in aid of the charity Alzheimers Society.


2009:MONSTER SWIM

MONSTER SWIM(2 Way swim the Length of Lake Windermere)

The longest annual swim and the Premier Long Distance Swim in the UK is held on the English Lake Windermere. This one way race is the gauge by which swimmers are judged; only the elite of swimmers complete this grueling swim. The 21 mile swim is only open to senior swimmers and each swimmer must be accompanied by a rowing boat.

Water temperatures are expected to be between 14 and 17c. 

To ensure it's a competition it is a race against experiences competitors and the whole event is run through the night meaning navigation in the dark and mist are a required

Help for Heroes

This charity was launched in September 2007 to help provide better facilities for wounded British servicemen and women

This is not about politics, there is no need to criticize or complain, why moan about it being dark when you can light a candle? . This is about ordinary decent people wanting to to do their bit to help, to raise money by joining in and so creating something that has become rather wonderful.

MONSTER SWIM

This is a clip of The Lake Windermere Two Way Open Water Swimming Race 2009 (MONSTER SWIM). The race is 21 miles long (2x10.5 miles) and is swum at night. I entered this event to raise money for the benefit of HELP FOR HEROES

2008:CHALLENGE 2008

CHALLENGE 2008 - Swimming the Length of Lake Zurich

On Sunday 3rd August 2008 I managed to successfully complete the 26.4km (17 mile) Open water Swimming Marathon race in Lake Zurich in 9 hours 39 minutes. Amongst a quality field of swimmers from all over the world my time was sufficient to earn me a place on the podium as 3rd fastest in the masters (Old Gits) category and top Brit. in the group .Switzerland came first in my group and guy who won also won overall with a new course record (2nd in the Masters was America).

Classed as one of the most beautiful Lake swims in Europe and now having completed it I can agree. The scenery and the warmth (21c) of the water make for a great swim.

Disability Challengers

A small charity for children with disabilities with the purpose to enable children to challenge their impairments through Play in a stimulating and safe environment. They currently have an ambitious project call the ‘Big Play’


CHALLENGE 2008

Summary of Charity Lake Zurich Race. 17 mile swim the length of Lake Zurich for Disability Challengers (childrens charity helping disabled children over come and challenge their diabilities)

2007:ONE WIDTH CHALLENGE

ONE WIDTH CHALLENGE (Solo Swim Across the English Channel)


There are few challenges that can stand the test of time. With science and technology many great challenges are not undertaken on the same basis as the original pioneers who first dreamed them possible. Not so Swimming the English Channel. When Captain Matthew Webb swam the Channel in 1875 he had one costume, hat, goggles and grease. For the crossing to be recognized officially today the same restrictions apply.

There are a lot of factors that combine to make the swim hard.

• The English Channel is approximately 21 Miles - 19 nautical miles (38000 yards) or 35 kilometres (35000 mtrs) - wide at its narrowest point (Shakespeare Beach, Dover to Cap Gris Nez, France). Most swims are a little longer to the land on either side.

• The Tides are strong and change direction approximately every 6 hours. 
They flow to the North East from about 1.5 hours before high water to about 4.5 hours after high water (Flood tide) - then turn and flow South West from 4.5 hours after high water to 1.5 hours before high water (Ebb tide). These tides can flow at up to 4 nautical miles per hour. The tide gets later every day by about 1 hour and change in height and flow speed every day. The lowest flow/ height range is known as the NEAP TIDES and is the time most swimmers try to swim. The highest flow/height range is the SPRING TIDES and require calm weather and good piloting for swims to be successful. (Good spring tide swims are usually a little faster than neap swims but require a lot more planning an skill from the pilot).

• The wind and the weather are an unknown quantity and the forecasts are only approximate. The Dover Straits are prone to local weather conditions that can vary considerably from that which is forecast and the weather can change very quickly (15/20 mins). When you combined wind and tide you can have some very sudden changes in sea conditions. 

• There are over 600 commercial ship movements a day in the traffic separation zone, (which is about the middle 9 nautical miles). To go from England to France you have to swim across the shipping lanes (at 90°T to the traffic) and it is the pilots job to stay out of the path of the commercial vessels. There are also 80 to 100 ferry crossings between Dover and Calais every 24 hours. It's very busy. 

•It's very cold ! Ranging between 57f and 61f in July 

Put all these things together, include a large portion of mental tension, note that everything is "approximate" or "about" and you have the worlds hardest swim -- "The Everest of open water swimming". The success rate each season is usually less than 50% for solo swims.

Perthes Association & Cancer Reseach UK

PERTHES ASSOCIATION
REGISTERED CHARITY NO. 326161 
Perthes Association aims to help and advise families of children suffering from Perthes' and associated conditions in all parts of the British Isles and abroad. Perthes' (a potentially crippling condition of the hip) is a form of osteochondritis, which affects 5.5 per 100,000 children (mainly boys) between the ages of 2 and 15 years. My youngest son had two operations for this condition. 

CANCER RESEACH UK
Registered charity No. 1089464
In the hope that the funds raised will help find a cure for more forms of Cancer and one day prevent the heartache this disease causes.

ONE WIDTH CHALLENGE (Solo Swim Across the English Channel)

This is a summary of my charity swimming across the English Channel. The charities involved were Perthes Association, Cancer Reasearch UK and Sutton and Cheam Swimming Club.

2006:SWIMATHON

10K SWIMATHON


A pool based swim that took place in a 25m pool in Banstead. This meant the 10km (6mile) distance equal 400 lengths.

Great event to do as a family or to have a step up from the normal 5k Swimathon’s but can get a little monotonous swimming 400 lengths. Race needs to be broken down in the mind to smaller sets of sprints .

Marie Curie Cancer Care

Marie Curie Cancer Care is dedicated to providing more and better care for patients and their families through the Marie Curie Nursing Service and its nine hospices.

Marie Curie Cancer Care is committed to carrying out the research and innovation necessary to find out what the best possible care is and how best to provide it.

Marie Curie Cancer Care will ensure measures are in place to give people the choice of place their end of life care and death through The Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme

Marie Curie Cancer Care is determined that the needs of the dying remain on the political agenda and will continue to campaign for patients to be able to die in their own homes in all four countries of the UK through its policy and public affairs work.

2005:IRONMAN

IRONMAN TRIATHLON

This event is regarded as the toughest one day event in sport. It is a long distance triathlon comprising of a continuous race starting with mass start of 2000 competitors for a 2.5mile open water swim followed by a 112 mile cycle ride around the hills of Summerset and Dorset and then a full marathon run to the finish line. To be classed as an Ironman the competitors needs to finish within 17 hours.

This is a tough event that needs a structured approach to train and prepare for the race. The atmosphere is great particularly at the finish. Proudly crossed the finish line, well within the time limit, with my oldest son. Took my knowledge of training plans and preparing for endurance events to a new level.

BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION

BHF vision couldn’t be much more ambitious - a world where people no longer die prematurely from heart disease.

But it can’t be done alone. BHF are working alongside government, other health charities, health professionals and thousands of dedicated supporters to beat heart disease.

Everybody has a part to play.

2004:4in04

4in04


This was an event Rob Slape and Mick Helps made up to raise money for two charities. Mickey raised money for British Heart Foundation and Rob raised money for Children with leukemia.

The event was in effect four endurance events spread over four months in 2004 Hence the title ‘4in04’

March - 10K (6mile) swim
April - 40k (26.2mile) running London marathon
May - 170k (112mile) bike ride (London to Brighton and back again)
June - Windsor Olympic distance triathlon (1.5k swim, 40k bike ride, 10k run)

This event was unique as it was created through an idea two friends had to help generate funds for charities. In doing so it sowed the seeds for ideas and drive to achieve many more charities events with an endurance theme.

It was also the first time Mick and his Sister Susan had run a marathon .They both did so in memory of Susan's late husband Steve who had sadly passed away from a heart attack one year previously. 

BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION

BHF vision couldn’t be much more ambitious - a world where people no longer die prematurely from heart disease.

But it can’t be done alone. BHF are working alongside government, other health charities, health professionals and thousands of dedicated supporters to beat heart disease.

Everybody has a part to play.

2003:OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLON

LONDON TRIATHLON (Olympic Distance)


Olympic distance triathlon comprising of a continuous race starting with an open water swim in London Docklands followed by a cycle ride into central London and then a run to the finish line. 

The London Triathlon became the largest participation Triathlon in the world in 2003 with 6000 competitors (now even higher)

1500m Swim, 40km Bike Ride, 10k Run

The support at this event is fantastic with the finish line enclosed in the Excel Centre giving a stadium type volume increase as you run the last 150m.

Mick competed in this event in memory of my brother in-law who sadly passed away 3 months earlier 

BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION

BHF vision couldn’t be much more ambitious - a world where people no longer die prematurely from heart disease.

But it can’t be done alone. BHF are working alongside government, other health charities, health professionals and thousands of dedicated supporters to beat heart disease.

Everybody has a part to play.