Chris Penn, managing director of 258-bedroom Ace hotel in London's Shoreditch, has completed his 21-mile solo swim across the English Channel to raise money for industry charity Hospitality Action.
Starting at 2.10am this morning, Penn left from Dover and finished his swim in the French town of Wissant, taking 14 hours. He has so far raised £11,287.69 via his JustGiving fundraising page, and is still accepting donations.
During the swim he wore swimming trunks, a swimming hat, and goggles, with lights attached to his trunks and goggles, and goose fat smeared over his skin to prevent chafing. He also had a support boat, named Pathfinder, following along behind him, with a crew that was able to throw him food and drink but unable to offer any other help such as letting him hold on to the side.
Speaking to The Caterer in August this year, Penn commented: "I have always truly believed that your body can achieve what your mind believes. I have definitely found this throughout my training, as I have already achieved milestones that I would have written off as impossible just one year ago. I think the swim itself will continue to build a respect for nature in my mind."
Asked why he was raising money for Hospitality Action, he added: "It is there for anybody who has had a turn for the worse, so we should help Hospitality Action provide this support. Ultimately, we may need it sometime in the future, so let's help it to help us."
Penn is the second well-known British hotelier to achieve the great swim recently, after Thomas Noblett, managing director of the Langdale Chase hotel on Lake Windermere, Cumbria, completed the Channel in 13 hours and 50 minutes in 2013. Noblett has since gone on to swim the passage three times, and is now planning to take part in the 900-mile endurance "Peace Swim" from the Tunisian North Sea to the South Sea.
Hospitality Action is the industry's benevolent charity and seeks to support hospitality employees past and present, and their families, if they fall on difficult times.
Donations to Chris Penn's Hospitality Action challenge can be made at www.justgiving.com/Christopher-Penn or by texting CPCS99 £1 to 70070 to donate £1.