The Bristol Channel unlike the English Channel has only been swum 20 times overall, and the Ilfracombe to Swansea crossing only by 4 individuals and one relay (in wetsuits),  the first swim being 1927.  Henley Mermaids will be the first all-female team and first relay team to be swimming skins (in costumes, no wetsuit, abiding by channel swimming rules) to swim across to Swansea.  There are 3 distance options for crossing. 

Shortest route:  Weston Super Mare to Penarth 16k 
Middle: Glenthorne to Porthcawl  27k
Longest: Ilfracombe to Swansea 40k

The Bristol Channel has the second highest tidal range in the world, with 50ft variance in tides complicated by scattered headlands and islands, swimmers often battle strong currents. 

Again, unlike the English Channel, there is only one pilot operating - Ceri Davies


For the Henley Mermaid’s 2021 challenge of swimming the Bristol Channel, we have decided to join forces with Sunrise for Brain Conditions, a charitable partnership that acts as an event and fundraising platform for charities that support four neurological conditions of Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

With family members and friends in our midst that are, or have been impacted by these conditions, it is a cause that is close to our hearts.  The Henley Mermaids’ aim is to raise much needed funds for research into cures for these brain conditions, as well as to provide funds to enable access to medical and support services to sufferers of these conditions across the UK & Ireland.

Due to the different legalities and tax regimes that exist between the UK & Ireland, donors are requested to opt to donate to either our selected Irish charities, or our selected UK charities, or both if they wish!  With four selected charities supporting these brain conditions in the UK and Ireland, all funds raised will be split equally between the charities and will go directly to them.


Our selected British Charities:

The Huntington’s Disease Youth Organisation is an international non-profit organisation set up to specifically provide support and education for young people around the world impacted by Huntington’s disease.



Cure Parkinson’s is working with urgency to find new treatments to slow, stop and reverse Parkinson’s. Our funding and innovation has redefined the field of Parkinson’s research, enabling the world’s leading researchers to prioritise the next generation of drugs for clinical trial. Together we will conquer Parkinson’s.



The MND Association focuses on improving access to care, research and campaigning for those people living with or affected by MND in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The MS International Federation is a unique global network  of MS organisations, people affected by MS, volunteers and staff from around the world. Our movement is made up of 48 MS organisations with links to many others.

Our vision is a world without MS

Our mission is to inspire, mobilise and bring the world together to improve the quality of life of everybody affected by MS and to end MS forever.  

Your support will help us bring together the research and work of MS organisations around the world to improve the quality of life of everybody affected by MS.

By strengthening organisations in countries with little support available, fundraising for increased awareness of the disease, and supporting international research into better treatments we are leading the global movement to create a world without MS.


Our Selected Irish Charities



Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a life-limiting hereditary brain condition that affects a person’s physical abilities, emotions and thinking skills. Symptoms can vary significantly even between individuals in the same family. Over the course of the illness, from 15 to 25 years on average, people with HD will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat and manage their self-care and can also experience emotional and mental health changes.
Symptoms usually presents between the age of 30 – 50 years when individuals may be raising families and midway through their working lives. Juvenile onset HD may occur in 5% - 10% of those affected, with onset before 20 years of age. Each child of a parent with the HD gene has a 50% chance of developing the condition. A HD diagnosis is very distressing for the entire family: the person diagnosed; their spouse/ partner; siblings, children at risk and extended family relatives.



The All Ireland Deep Brain Stimulation Service (DBS) is part of the DNI service. DBS is an effective treatment for a subset of patients suffering with disabling neurological movement disorders where symptoms are inadequately controlled with oral medications, namely Parkinson’s Disease (PD), essential tremor (ET) and dystonia.



The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) is the only organisation of its kind in the country providing specialised services to families affected by this terminal condition.

The Association cannot slow the progression of MND or change the outcome but we can alleviate the feelings of isolation and frustration. We offer consistent support to approximately 400 families across Ireland who otherwise would have nowhere else to turn. Everybody with MND has different needs at different stages of their journey  and we are here to help and guide them every step of the way.

The services provided by the IMNDA are immediate and free of charge for everyone registered with the Association.

Key services include: 

  • Access to 4 outreach nurses directly employed by the IMNDA and funded entirely by donations.

  • Access to a home care grant.

  • Access to specialised equipment on loan (e.g. wheelchairs, hoists, communication aids etc).

  • Access to funding towards counselling sessions for the person with MND and family members.

  • Your support is absolutely vital. More than 86% of our income comes from fundraising and donations.


The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland is the only national organisation working solely on behalf of people living with Multiple Sclerosis and thousands more who share their lives.

MS Ireland provides a wide range of services and support that are often a lifeline for some 9,000+ people living with Multiple Sclerosis. Such services include the MS Information Line, a network of professional community workers and case workers throughout Ireland and the MS Care Centre. There is also an extensive branch network throughout Ireland, our 34 branches are run entirely by volunteers.

The work of MS Ireland in providing this support for people living with Multiple Sclerosis is only made possible by the valuable assistance provided by a wide range of volunteers and supporters.

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