Quest Magazine - Home

Swimming the Channel for SSAFA

Swimming the Channel for SSAFA


29 Oct, 2018

Cath Pendleton, ex-RAF, took on the epic challenge for her fellow Veterans in need.

Cath Pendleton plunged into the chilly waters of the English Channel to swim to the shoreline of France. Her epic challenge took 16 hours 45 minutes, with no break from the water allowed. The swim ended when she climbed out of the water on the French shoreline and on to dry land. 

She wore only a standard swimming costume, silicone hat and goggles as no insulating neoprene wetsuits are allowed under the English Channel swimming rules. Cath had to take small bites of food and sips of carbohydrate drinks thrown to her by her crew from the pilot boat and at no time was she allowed to touch the boat or the swim would have been void. The boat was alongside her the whole way, keeping her safe by navigating the safest route to cross one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, with about 500 ships passing through it every day.

After leaving the RAF, Cath’s marriage broke down and she had to relocate, starting to build a new life for herself and her children. She needed support with making her home liveable as it had bad damp problems, which was having a detrimental effect on her asthmatic daughter’s health. Never forgetting the support that she received during this time, Cath is now taking on this challenge so that the charity can help more members of the military community when they most need it. This is the first time that anyone has swum the Channel for SSAFA, so it was a monumental occasion.

SSAFA provides lifelong support to the Armed Forces, Veterans and their families in times of need. Beginning this vital work in 1885, this makes SSAFA the oldest tri-service, military charity running in the UK. This year alone, staff and teams of volunteers have helped more than 67,000 people – from Second World War Veterans to those involved in more recent conflicts and their families.

It has become clear over more than 130 years of providing Forces support that everyone faces different challenges, so SSAFA uses a tailored approach to meet the needs of today’s serving community. Whether it’s practical, emotional or financial support – SSAFA is there to serve the Armed Forces family every step of the way. 

Support Cath’s challenge at:

To find out more about the work of SSAFA, visit

Other Stories

Fully charge your future ARTICLES
15 Oct, 2019
Become an electric vehicle charging point installer in one of today’s fastest-growing industries
Food for thought? COVER STORY
14 Oct, 2019
If you’re thinking of launching your own start-up once you leave behind your uniform, the billion-pound business of...
Get set for resettlement! ARTICLES
11 Oct, 2019
When it comes to making the transition to civvy street, says Tom Spearpoint, a senior solicitor in the Military Claims...

Related Articles

Case Studies See all

Craig Froggatt
Craig Froggatt

‘When serving in the Army I didn’t think about my future,’ says Craig Froggatt, who, having served for four years, found himself homeless on the beach in Skegness. ‘I presumed that, when I...

Read more »
John Bathgate
John Bathgate
Years Served:
15 Years

‘Throughout my eight-month journey from application to the CRB to passing my Part 3 test, I received excellent support and guidance from all concerned.

Read more »