AN ONCOLOGIST has raised more than £10,000 in a charity swim across the English Channel.

Joanna Stokoe, from Poets Corner in Hove, completed the roughly 21 mile swim with a time of around 15 and a half hours.

She said she has been overjoyed with the amount of support she has received, more than doubling her initial fundraising target for the charities.

“I’m really pleased and I never thought I’d raise that much money. People have been so generous,” Joanna said.

Setting off from near Dover harbour at 6.20am last Thursday, she arrived at the French coast just south of Calais in pitch darkness at around 9.45pm.

While she said conditions were calm to begin with, Joanna explained she was battling the tide as the wind picked up to 20 knots (around 23mph) towards the end of her journey.

She said: “It was really tough with the tides and currents in the French waters, so the last three and a half hours, my crew were just screaming at me constantly to speed up and swim harder and faster to beat the tide - it was a bit touch and go.”

Joanna sought to raise money for the Sussex Cancer Fund and the Roy Castle Lung Foundation, two charities connected with her day-to-day work with cancer patients.

Issues with the tides and the wind were not the only issues Joanna faced on her journey across the Channel - with her arm feeling sore after three or four hours into the marathon swim and also being stung by jellyfish along the way.

She said: “It’s amazing what makes you dig deep.

“I thought about the charities and the thought of having to see my patients in the clinic and telling them I didn’t do it was in my mind too.”

Donations came in by the thousands as people tracked her progress across the Channel online.

Supporters told Joanna they stayed up to watch her complete the race, with tracking software plotting her course across the Channel in real-time.

Going forward, Joanna is already starting to return to the water and has other longer swims in mind for the future, including Loch Ness and the North Channel between Scotland and the island of Ireland.

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