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Team of six achieve swim to Goodwin Sands, Deal, starting from Ramsgate

Six people have made a historic swim to the Goodwin Sands.

This was to raise awareness of the shifting and celebrate their recent designation as a Marine Conservation Zone.

The group arrive at the Goodwin Sands. Picture courtesy of Danny Burrows.
The group arrive at the Goodwin Sands. Picture courtesy of Danny Burrows.

There is also a campaign to make the area a UNESCO marine cultural World Heritage Site by The Big Swim's supporters, Goodwin Sands Conservation Trust.

The group covered eight nautical miles (15km). going from Ramsgate Harbourat dawn last Sunday and carrying on to Deal Pier via the Sands.

The members moved in relays of half an hour each.

They reached The Knoll on the North Goodwin sandbank and spent 50 minutes there.

They were greeted by a large crowd at their final destination along with Deal mayor Eileen Rowbotham.

The six end their adventure at Deal. Picture courtesy of Andy Ashenhurst
The six end their adventure at Deal. Picture courtesy of Andy Ashenhurst

The team, members of an informal swimming group called the Kingsdown Crawlers, werePatrick Papougnot, Sophie Papougnot, Kate Forey, Kathryn Hewitt, Darren Parfitt, and Martin Wyman.

Ms Hewitt is a member of the East Kent Mercury's advertising team.

Stuart and Donna Stead from TopCatCharters of Ramsgate supported the swimmers from their catamaran and William Thomson, author of The Book of Tides, planned the route.

Mr Papougnot described this previously unattempted swim as "a pioneering and surrealist experience mixing sport, fun, discovery, and friendship."

He added: "The Goodwins are part of who you are, my fellow humans: Kentish, proud of it and perhaps for the first time, expressing your feelings about the important issue of preserving our environment.

" A UNESCO listing would make justice to the beauty and the quality of our coastal shore.”

The swimmers approach their final destination, Deal. Picture courtesy of Danny Burrows
The swimmers approach their final destination, Deal. Picture courtesy of Danny Burrows

Cllr Rowbotham, herself a keen environmentalist, offered her support for the World Heritage Site proposal.

She also invited the Trust to make a presentation to Deal Town Council.

Deal mayor Eileen Rowbotham with Joanna Thomson of Goodwin Sands Conservation Trust. Picture: Danny Burrows.
Deal mayor Eileen Rowbotham with Joanna Thomson of Goodwin Sands Conservation Trust. Picture: Danny Burrows.
The swimmers with the mayor of Deal. Picture: Roy Thomsett
The swimmers with the mayor of Deal. Picture: Roy Thomsett

The "ship swallower," as the Sands were known, are the graveyard of at least 2,000 ships and the final resting places of both sailors and airmen from WWII.

They are notorious for their quicksand, swirling currents and swift incoming tide that cover the exposed sandbanks in minutes.

The Goodwin Sands, near Deal, were given extra environmental protection by being designated as a MCZ by the government on May 31 this year.

They otherwise continue to the the subject of a long battle by the the pressure ground Goodwin Sands SOS (Save Our Sands) to stop them being dredged.

The Port of Dover wants to use some of the aggregate for its Dover Western Docks Revival development.

The government's Marine Management Organisation granted a licence for this last July.

That was challenged in a High Court judicial review on June 5, brought by GSSOS.

The verdict on that hearing is still due.

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