July 17, 2022 10.00 am

Hospital staff part of swimming relay team set for world record

The four friends have a combined age of 226

A former Lincolnshire hospital employee was part of a group of four friends set to become record holders for being the oldest mixed relay team to swim the English Channel.

Theresa Tomlinson, 51, Phil Field, and Anne-Marie Lawrence, both 57, and Peter Moyes 61, have a combined age of 226, but they didn’t let it stand in their way of a charity challenge. Theresa and Pete met a decade ago from running Retford & District Lifesaving Club, and the group of four as a whole have known each other for three years.

The Robin Hood Swimmers, who are originally from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, wanted to set a new Guinness World Record while raising money for Dementia UK as they’ve all known friends and family who have suffered from the condition – their efforts saw them raise over £7,500 and donations can still be made here.

On Monday, July 11, the group swam from Samphire Hoe just outside Dover to France’s Cap Gris-Nez and finished in a time of 15 hours and two minutes, which beat their target time of 16 hours.

They each swam for an hour at a time in rotation as a relay and what was a tough but enjoyable challenge, starting at 7.33am on July 11 and finishing in France at 10.35pm.

Theresa Tomlinson, 51, during the swimming challenge, which took the relay team 15 hours and two minutes to complete.

Theresa from Retford worked for as the Health & Safety/Moving & Handling Advisor at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust for five years until January 2022, before moving to do the same role for the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

She told The Lincolnite: “We are all keen swimming and we’ve all done challenges before, including a seven-and-a-half mile swim in Ulswater two years ago.
This very quickly developed into us now swimming the Channel.

“It was a more challenging swim, swimming against the tide, and we supported each other across it. It made a big difference having each other to rely on.

“I feel really pleased and chuffed. To get four like-minded people wanting to do a challenge like this is quite a feat.

“We are all senior in age and wanted to do something people typically of our age don’t do. We’ve shown age is no boundary.”

The Robin Hood Swimmers on Sandgate beach in Folkestone. Pictured left to right – Theresa Tomlinson, Anne- Marie Lawrence, Phil Field and Pete Moyes.

Team captain Pete Moyes added: “It feels quite emotional having completed the challenge.It’s been more than three years in the making; two years of training – we can’t quite believe we’ve done it!

“Endurance swimming is typically a sport for younger people but here we are demonstrating that people of our age can do something like this.

“The early part of the swimming was comfortable, but battling with the tide, current and wind in the second half was a real challenge. That brought it home to us why so few people do this.”

Phil Field, 57, is part of The Robin Hood Swimmers team who took on the challenge.

The Channel Swim Association has verified the group’s attempt, but they must now wait to hear back from Guinness World Records over the next few weeks to find out if they achieved the special accolade.