In a formidable achievement spanned over a lifetime, Sally Minty-Gravett MBE, from Jersey has become the first person to swim the English Channel over 6 consecutive decades.
Sally first swam the channel in 1975 at just 18 years old. It would be another 10 years before her second attempt in 1985 – crossing England to France in 15 hours and three minutes. After Sally’s third crossing in 1992 – from France to England – she was left with an urge to “readdress the balance”. In an exclusive interview with Outdoor Swimmer, Sally explained: “I had done what I wanted to do, but I had done two England to France swims and only one France to England, so I did think that at some stage I wanted to do another France to England swim.”
However, in 1993 the French authorities banned people from swimming from France to England. So to comply with the new rules, Sally was going to have to double her efforts. In 2005 Sally challenged herself to the double crossing but, unfortunately, it became clear that it was going to take Sally more than this first attempt to complete this almighty feat. She celebrated her 5th decade of Channel swims with another single crossing in 2013 and on the 41st anniversary of her first swim, she completed the two-way swim in 2016.
Sally’s planned a “retirement swim” in 2020 for what would be her 6th decade, but this was postponed following the Covid-19 pandemic and the death of her husband and fellow endurance swimmer, Charlie.
After an emotional 2 year journey to the start line, on Sunday 7 August 2022 aged 65, Sally achieved a Guinness World Record on completion of her 6th 21-mile (34 km) swim from Dover to Calais – in 15 hours and 30 minutes. Dedicating the latest crossing to her late husband, Sally not only accomplished an incredible feat in the water but through her dedicated fundraising efforts raised over £20,000 for two charities: Jersey Lifeboat Association and Dementia Jersey.
Sally was able to support both of these deserving charities by choosing to fundraise with SportsGiving. Despite there being an overwhelming demand to simultaneously raise money for multiple charities, even the best-known fundraising platforms do not have this functionality; it is exclusive to SportsGiving.
On completion of her challenge, RaceNation SportsGiving’s CEO Will Golder said: “A huge well done to Sally – her effort and dedication is truly inspiring. It’s great that Sally was able to raise with SportsGiving – it gives us great pride to be at the forefront of Island giving as the only fundraising platform to have Jersey Gift Support fully integrated.”
Furthermore, as the only fundraising platform to enable Jersey Gift Support – the Island’s equivalent of the UK’s Gift Aid – every £1 donated by Jersey taxpayers had the potential to be worth £1.25 to Sally’s appeal (donations valued at £50+). By using SportsGiving, Sally had the potential to raise 25% more.
In response to the digital modernisation of Jersey Gift Support, Beth Gallichan, chairperson at Jersey Fundraising Forum and Fundraising Manager at Durrell said “Improving this process in Jersey is a tremendous step forward to helping many good causes.”
When asked if any more swims were on the cards, Sally said “never say never!”