Northampton father conquers the Channel in 13-hour marathon swim for charity

"I just hugged my dad and we both burst into tears."
"I just hugged my dad and we both burst into tears."

A Northampton father has conquered the choppy seas of the Channel and swum from England to France for charity.

Stu Hacker's feet touched the shores of Calais on Tuesday (August 21) after swimming over 21 miles in 13 hours and six minutes.

Stu said: "Swimming the Channel is a mental battle the whole way. even when you see France you've got five hours to go."

Stu said: "Swimming the Channel is a mental battle the whole way. even when you see France you've got five hours to go."

It comes after his first attempt last year was cancelled just two hours in after the weather turned dangerous.

But he returned to the Channel this week to best the waters and raise over £4,000 for the Northampton-based Riding For The Disabled Association (RDA).

Stu, from St Crispins, said: "There's nothing like that feeling when your feet first touch the floor and the water gets warmer. I was elated and was just dancing on the beach."

Stu took up the Channel challenge soon after swimming around Lake Windemere three years ago.

Stu swam over 21 miles from Dover to Calais for charity.

Stu swam over 21 miles from Dover to Calais for charity.

He pledged to use the chance to raise money for RDA - who offer horse-riding therapy for disabled and blind children - after they supported his daughter Katie.

He set off at 6.20am from Dover on Tuesday, with over 21 miles of water between him and his goal.

Stu said: "Swimming the channel is a mental battle. Even when France is in sight you still have at least five hours to go and it just never comes closer."

"I just broke it down into hour and half-hour chunks.

Left to right: Dad Keith Hacker, Stu Hacker and support swimmer Wes.

Left to right: Dad Keith Hacker, Stu Hacker and support swimmer Wes.

"It's cold and there are so many big jellyfish in the Channel. I got stung three times and even that was lucky."

Stu was supported by his dad Keith and his friends Wes and Kate, who rode with him the length of the Channel in a boat.

Stu said: "When we got to the end I was elated. Then I just hugged my dad and we both burst into tears."

Stu - who is now the 1919th person to swim the Channel - says he already has his sights set on New York and plans to lap around Manhattan for his next challenge.