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Follow six Suffolk sea swimmers today attempting to cross Channel

The team of young swimmers during training for their cross-Channel challenge. Picture: NICK GLENDINNING

The team of young swimmers during training for their cross-Channel challenge. Picture: NICK GLENDINNING

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A group of sea swimmers, believed to be among the youngest to ever attempt to cross the English Channel, have set off an their 21-mile journey.

The team of young swimmers, joined by Michael Read, during training for their cross-Channel challenge. Picture: NICK GLENDINNING The team of young swimmers, joined by Michael Read, during training for their cross-Channel challenge. Picture: NICK GLENDINNING

The six-strong team set off at dawn on a journey expected to take between 12 and 18 hours, with members swimming in rotation until they reach France.

The East Coast Icicles had been set to take on the challenge in mid-July but weather delays meant the date was postponed.

The team is made up of six school pupils from around the county – Ollie Pick, 17, Brendan Bennett, 15, Charlotte Smith, 15, Alfie Glendinning, 14, Will Johnson, 15, and Minnie Wayman, 13.

They are raising funds for the YoungMinds charity, which champions the wellbeing and mental health of young people.

Their progress along the Strait of Dover can be followed on GPS tracker, by looking for Rowena, their support boat, here.

Further details and updates will also be posted on their Facebook page.

One of their training sessions was attended by Michael Read MBE – a long-distance swimmer known as the ‘King of the Channel’ for his 33 crossings.

Mr Read went to Felixstowe to offer the team a pep talk during the summer.

Earlier this year, Farlingaye student Ollie Pick, from Iken, and Will Johnson, from Diss, won gold and silver in the under-19 ‘Ice Fly’ race at the biennial UK Cold Water Swimming Championships.

Charlotte Smith, from Felixstowe, took silver in the girls Ice Fly, while Alfie Glendinning, from Ufford, and Minnie Wayman, from Bromeswell, both at Woodbridge School and the youngest swimmers in the competition, picked up gold in the under-15s. Alfie then grabbed another gold in the head-up breaststroke.

His father, Nick, also a member of the Felixstowe Swimscapes open water swimmers club, said: “Finally, after weeks of weather delays, the East Coast Icicles, start swimming their 21-mile journey across the English Channel.

“It is anticipated that it will take them 12-18 hours of consistent swimming in cold water with jellyfish and container ships thrown into the mix.

“They swim in rotation, one hour each until they reach France.”

You can sponsor the team here.

A person has died after a serious crash on the A12 near Copdock this afternoon.

The sunshine, blue skies and record breaking temperatures of recent days are set to come to a thundery end - with heavy rain and lightning expected across the region this weekend.

A full business case for a northern bypass will be tabled by the end of the year it has been revealed, as transport secretary Chris Grayling has said that some improvements in the area will “have to happen”.

An Ipswich man who was in a “blind rage” when he deliberately drove his car into a neighbour has been jailed for two years and seven months.

The jury in the trial of a 68-year-old former Ipswich man accused of sexually assaulting a schoolboy in his mobile home more than a decade ago is expected to retire to consider its verdicts on Monday.

A couple jailed for failing to pay more than £400,000 tax have been ordered to pay back £70,000 and £1 respectively.

In Brief is the new and improved daily newsletter brought to you by the Ipswich Star brimming with all of your local news highlights

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Plans to transform the empty Cavendish Hotel on Felixstowe’s seafront into homes and commercial units have been given the go-ahead once planners secure financial agreements for affordable housing.

A broken down train has prevented the minister responsible for the country’s transport system from visiting the Great Yarmouth area today.

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