A retired rugby player has completed a swim of the English Channel to raise money for a children's hospice.
Alex Grove, who played for Worcester Warriors, swam the 21-mile stretch of water from Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France in 13 hours and 57 minutes.
A Just Giving page has so far raised over £26,000, which will go to Acorns Children's Hospice, which has centres in Birmingham, Worcester and Walsall.
The hospice cares for children across the West Midlands.
Last year it supported almost 800 children, as well as their families, but has seen its income plummet during the pandemic.
Its 50 charity shops were closed during lockdown and prior to this said it needed £2m to keep its Walsall branch open.
Tweeting after finishing the swim, Mr Grove, 32, said: "Unbelieveable [sic] shift! That was different level."
Speaking to BBC Hereford and Worcester, Mr Grove said he fell asleep on the floor of the boat and was a "little tired".
"There was a quite a bit of chop on the water, for the first three-and a-half hours, it was really hard to settle into a rhythm.
"Eight hours into the swim, I was getting feedback, they were saying 'you really need to pick this up', the amount the tide had pushed me, I just wasn't going anywhere. I went a quarter-of-a-mile in two hours."
He said the challenge was more "mental than physical" but felt a "huge amount of relief" now the swim was completed.
"We are in awe of what Alex has achieved today," Mel Hall, area fundraiser for Acorns, said.
"His hard work and determination over the last 12 months, in the face of some very unexpected challenges, has been truly inspiring."
She said Mr Grove had raised a "phenomenal" amount of money and that it would be used to "help children and families continue to get the crucial support they need".
The former Scotland international said he chose the charity after visiting the centre as a player and seeing it was an "an incredibly special place".
He said: "Given the seriousness of the children's illnesses, everyone seemed very positive and there were always smiles on faces.
"Tash and I are extremely fortunate to have two healthy children, Imogen and Ottilie, and we've certainly realised that having children puts many things into perspective."
- 27 March
- 2 December 2019