Girls swim Channel to fund school places for Ukrainian refugees

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The pupils from prestigious Roedean School braved jellyfish and intense cold as they battled choppy waters to swim the 21 miles to France. The girls were helping to fund six bursary places for Ukrainian girls at their private school near Brighton.

Bella Mapledoram, 12, joined Rose Owens, 15, Amy Ng, 16, Clara Burton-Dowsett, 14, Olivia Crawley, 16, and head girl Jemima Venturi, 17, on the marathon.

They swam overnight last week in hourly rotation through the pitch-black choppy waters between Dover and Cap Gris Nez.

Rose and Amy had rushed to the Dover departure point after Biology GCSE exams.

The team, who had a support boat with two teachers and swim coach Stefan Serafimov, on board, took 13 hours and 13 minutes to complete the challenge and raise £7,100.

Bella said: “It was tough because your brain kept saying ‘you can’t do this’.

“But each time I had a wobble, I looked up to see the rest of the girls on the boat dancing to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, and I knew I couldn’t let them down.”

She added: “When we got to France we all started screaming. It was amazing.”

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