A STORM forced Alan Gale to abandon his English Channel swim just a couple of miles from France.

Mr Gale, from Nunnery Wood, said he was disappointed but had been told by the pilot that nobody could have swam against the massive waves and 3.5 knot tide.

The father, who was swimming for Acorns Children's Hospice in memory of his late son Harry, said his disappointment was eclipsed by discovering he had reached his fundraising target of £10,000.

He had spent 12 hours in the water when the pilot of his support boat Connemara called the swim off.

"I was doing well and success looked certain.

"Literally, from nowhere, the storm that was predicted to arrive at midnight appeared early.

"The sea turned violent and angry, with swells of two meters making it impossible for me to see land - France or England.

"In these conditions swimmers quickly become disoriented.

"I still had strength left and without the change in conditions I am convinced I would have made it.

"But the boat pilot is responsible for the safety of his crew, passengers and swimmer.

"After I'd disappeared under the waves several times and even under the bow of the violently rocking boat, the captain had seen enough.

"I'd been pushed out to three miles from shore and we'd made no progress for an hour.

"At the pilot's say, which is final, the attempt was abandoned for safety concerns.

"I had no reason to regret any lack of training of mental or physical resolve - the Channel had simply closed its doors to swimmers at that point."

To sponsor Mr Gale, log on to algale.co.uk.