A Sleaford Army officer will swim the English Channel next week to raise mental health awareness, as well as money for the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund.
Captain Harry Grantham suffered his own battle with mental health last year and was unable to vocalise his problems due to the “breakdown of my marriage and being forced to leave the family home and my young children behind”.
He was assigned far away from all his friends and family and the situation got worse, but good friend Major Nigel Mudd, who was a welfare officer, noticed changes in his behaviour and spoke with him about it.
This led to Harry getting support from the Army Welfare Service after changes in his behaviour were noticed.
Captain Grantham, who enlisted in the British Army in 1995, has been in full-time Channel swim training for the past 12 months with his coach Tim Denyer and has been completing an average of 30-40km per week in open water, mainly down at Dover harbour.
His official registered English Channel Solo swim attempt will take place on September 7. Former Major Mudd will be in the support boat with other members of his old Regiment, the Royal Artillery.
In 1875, Captain Matthew Webb made the first recorded swim of the English Channel without artificial aids and now Harry wants to complete the challenge. Since 1875 only 1,881 have achieved this feat and Harry has set himself a target finish time between 12 and 14 hours.
All money raised from the event will go to the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund, who work to support the Gunner community that Harry remains a part of. He has so far raised £1,260 – click here to make a donation.
Harry wants to encourage those experiencing mental health issues to come forward and seek help at an early stage, saying: “If I can help make at least one person’s life better as a result of the money and awareness raised by my Channel Swim I’ll be delighted.
“I’m hoping for calm waters but as I tell the soldiers who take their horses to the beach each year to improve their riding abilities, the most important thing is to have Army Confidence – if you can believe you can do something, you’ve done all the preparations you need and you’ve got a strong team supporting you, nothing can stand in your way.”
After a successful career as a solider, Captain Grantham attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst’s Late Entry Officer Course, where he gained his commission in 2017. He is now currently serving as the SO3 Equine Assurance Officer within the headquarters of London District.