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From Arch to Arc for St. Rocco’s

3 August 2018

Spare a thought for Paul Le Riche, Nick Johnson and Kelly Langley when you wake up with that ‘Monday morning feeling’ at the beginning of next week.

Arch to Arc

Nick, Kelly and Paul

They will have been in the English Channel since 4.30am and more than likely will be well into their swim across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and one of the toughest long distance swims, due to the temperature and the tides.

This is only a third of the story though. The three friends are taking on the Arch to Arc Challenge in memory of Paul’s mum Pamela and to raise funds for patient care at St. Rocco’s, a place close to Pamela’s heart.

Their challenge started on Sunday morning and involves running the 87 miles from Marble Arch in London to Dover, swimming the channel and then cycling the 187 miles from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. By the time they get into the channel they will already have been on the go for 20 hours. The three of them will be covering it as a relay so that one of them will running, swimming or cycling for an hour and then the next one takes over. They are hoping to beat the time set earlier this year by a Russian 3 man team of 41 hours 8 minutes.

Paul works in HR and lives in London but is originally from Burtonwood. He describes himself as an ‘ordinary person’ who wants to “do something extraordinary for an exceptional person”.

“Mum was one of the original volunteers at St. Rocco’s when it first opened in Orford. I know it had a big impact on her and reflected her own desire to help people and their families through difficult times of their lives. Once my brother and I got a bit older she took up a career for herself in care and nursing homes. I’m sure that this was due to her experience as a volunteer at St. Rocco’s. She felt very passionate about it and I know that if there had been no family left, she would have left everything she had to support the work at St. Rocco’s.”

When Pam became ill she knew that she could turn to St. Rocco’s for help and they supported her during her illness, helping to manage her symptoms. As was her wish, she died at home surrounded by her family in March 2017.

Paul had originally planned a solo attempt for the challenge but, as he wanted to take part in memory of his mum and complete it this year, he realised that he would need a little help from his friends and enlisted the support of Nick and Kelly. They are also experienced endurance athletes and Nick was already lined up to be part of Paul’s support team.

“I was already committed to helping anyway,” said Nick, “It was just a question of changing my mindset to competitor mode and focus on training”.

His wife Natalie is now part of the support crew and it will be her job to navigate their car across France and up the Champs Élysées in Paris for the final leg of the challenge.

Kelly “loves a challenge, the harder the better” and had always wanted to swim the channel.

“I like to get stuck into something and to test my ability. This will be tough but I respond better to a bigger challenge.”

All they need now is the go ahead that the tides are right. At the moment they plan to set off from Marble Arch at 10am on Sunday with the swim set for 4.30am on Monday.

Although all three men are based in the South East they are all committed to raising as much as they can for St. Rocco’s in memory of Pam. They’ve set themselves a collective target of £15,000. If you would like to support them please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Paul-Le-Riche.

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