Finsbury Park man swims Channel in memory of brother

A MAN whose brother tragically died from meningitis at the age of 20 swam from England to France in his memory – and raised nearly �7,000 for charity.

Sam Vincent propelled himself across the 22-mile English Channel on what would have been his younger brother Ben’s birthday, who died eight years ago next month, just weeks into his first year at university.

The 29-year-old, of Wilberforce Road, Finsbury Park, said: “It was very emotional. We used to swim together a lot, which was a big part of what inspired me to swim in his memory. It was something we both loved doing and something we shared.

“I was really nervous but it was great to have the opportunity to do this on his birthday, and the weather conditions came together so well. It was a lovely day.”

He conquered the stretch in just over 10 and a half hours, much faster than expected, and raised nearly �7,000 – and counting – for Meningitis UK. The charity is looking for a vaccine against the killer disease that claimed his brother’s life.

Steve Dayman, who founded Meningitis UK after his son Spencer died from the disease, said: “This is the first time a supporter of ours has swum the channel so we’re hugely appreciative of Sam’s efforts. It’s quite a feat and I can’t begin to imagine how tough the challenge was.

“What happened to Ben sadly illustrates the speed at which meningitis can strike, with very few symptoms to distinguish the disease from more common illnesses.”

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Mr Vincent, a think-tank researcher, began training a year ago, swimming a few times every week – but he said nothing could really prepare him for the daunting 22-mile challenge.

He added: “It felt amazing and terrible and everything in between.

“I think I might do something like it again in the future, but I’ll have a year or two off. A rest is what I need at the moment!”

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