VIDEO: Bassingbourn officer swims the Channel

A SOLDIER based at Bassingbourn Barracks swam the English Channel for charity, becoming the first Gibraltarian to complete the gruelling 21-mile challenge.

Cpt Jonathan Linares, of The Royal Engineers, braved the freezing temperatures last week making it across in 13hours 35minutes 56seconds, raising just shy of �3,000 for military charities.

He said: “It’s good to be the first Gibraltarian to do it but it just so happened that I am. I was training and a friend of mine asked me how many people from Gibraltar had done it and I worked out no-one had. Gibraltar is a small country and it is good to put it on the map, and it is something people can’t take away from me.”

The 27-year-old’s attempt had been delayed by the weather but last Tuesday a window appeared for him to get in the water.

He said: “The tides were good for the most of the way but about three hours from the end it got a bit choppy and I had been swimming for 10 hours and I was quite tired.

“I managed to stay pretty focused for the whole day, though I started at 2.30am which was a little unnerving and it was quite cold. But at the same time it was exciting to get going considering I had been training for a year and the recent waiting I had to do.

“I was shell-shocked when I finished and I felt a little cold. The best part is the achievement, for a while I had a helicopter over me because an Irishman died unfortunately two miles from France.”

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Cpt Linares, who has served in Afghanistan, raised cash for The Afghan Appeal Fund, and the Army Benevolence Fund The Soldiers’ Charity.

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