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Man raises £21,000 for cancer research by swimming English Channel

PUBLISHED: 13:45 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:39 07 August 2019

Alexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander Begg

Alexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander Begg

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A man who has seen the impact of brain tumours on three of his loved ones has swum the English Channel in 11 hours and raised £21,000 for cancer research.

Alexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander BeggAlexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander Begg

Alexander Begg, 29, who moved to Norfolk with his wife Rosie six months ago, decided to take on the challenge to raise money for glioblastoma research, the most common and malignant form of brain cancer.

Mr Begg, from Gressenhall, near Dereham, said: "Brain tumours have impacted the people I love more than any other disease and often, the impact is devastating.

"My grandmother, who I was never able to meet passed away from a brain tumour at the age of 46.

"My wife Rosie, and her family lost her father Brian Cross to a brain tumour in 2006. The Cross family do an incredible amount for this cause and I am proud to use this opportunity to support their dedicated efforts over the years.

Alexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander BeggAlexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander Begg

"Finally, my very good friend continues to make a strong recovery from multiple surgeries - and has given me immediate perspective of just how serious this condition can be."

Mr Begg grew up in Jersey and swam from a young age before rediscovering his love for the sport in his mid-20s.

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He said: "In the past few years I have scaled up from Coniston, Windermere and Zurich and completed different marathons.

Alexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander BeggAlexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander Begg

"I have always been known for doing stupid things, The Channel represents a step up again."

Before the swim, Mr Begg underwent six months of training with Josh Crossley from East Anglian Swallow Tails (EAST) and Tim Denyer from Red Top Swim in London.

Mr Begg said: "The preparation has been unrelenting, it squeezes every other part of your life and would not have been possible without a great deal of support from friends and family."

A text was sent to the swimmer just nine hours ahead of when he would be due in the boat, after setting his alarm for midnight he made the journey to the marina.

Alexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander BeggAlexander Begg, a 29-year-old man from Gressenhall, has swam The Channel in 11 hours and raised more than £18,000 for charity. Picture: Alexander Begg

He said: "I was very challenging mentally, because there are no landmarks along the way and all you can see is sky and sea, you're left with your own thoughts.

"I struggled for a while, but I remember seeing a gorgeous orange sunrise which helped boost morale.

"At the end a motorised boat will pick you up and take you to shore, it was reassuring to see that because you know you are on the home stretch."

To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alexander-begg

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