Pembroke’s Paddle

Meet Thomas Pembroke, an amazing young man who with the support of his family has just swam the English Channel in support of SIDS and Kids. Thomas, we thank you for your support and congratulate you on an amazing achievement. Here’s Thomas’s story written from the eyes of his parents and supporters!

Pembroke’s Paddle

It all began at the sound of the alarm at 12:30am.

Knowing his son well Dad asked Tom to double check that nothing he required was forgotten. With Tom’s reassurance, we naively set off. Dad, myself and Louise “Tom’s flatmate” in one car, Caroline and Oliday in another.

First stop, marina office Dover. Naturally, Tom was clueless on how to get there. We arrived, on time at 1:30 am, after a few anxious moments. Unbeknown to us there were would be many more anxious moments.

It didn’t take long for Tom’s first “beany”. The skipper bellowed, “Welcome aboard passports please.” Needless to say Dad took one look at Tom, and without hesitation, grabbed Louise and scampered off the boat and to the car. He arrived 15 minutes later, panting, with the documents in hand. Louise had not brought her passport so we decided that should we be boarded by customs officials Louise would be Caroline. An illegal act of immigration added to the drama. Caroline and Oliday wished Tom luck and disembarked.

Our crew: Tom, Andrew, Louise and myself

Their crew : Captain Paul, Irene the observer, deckhands Ray and his son Sam.

We cast off and motored out of Dover harbour past the white cliffs and travelled half an hour west in pitch-black water. Before jumping in Irene asked Tom some basic safety questions.

1) Who was your coach? Answer “I don’t have one”

2) Swim lights? Answer “Umm, I didn’t know I needed them”

3) Feeding bottles? Answer “Not Yet”

4) Have you done your 6-hour qualification swim? “Of course”. This lie was verified by none other than English Channel swimming expert Timothy Wiseman.

At 2:30am I slathered Tom in a mixture of lanolin and vaseline.

Tom was so relaxed, singing and joking as he dived into black 14-degree sea. He was to pay the price for this disrespect. He was required to first swim to the English shore and stand unassisted. Time 0250.

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