TOUCHED by the plight of refugees, a Wark man has swum across the English Channel raising more than £3,500 for charity.

Hunter Charlton swam from Dover harbour to Calais in 14 hours 40 minutes on Sunday.

After starting training in November, Hunter spent his weekend’s doing six and seven-hour swims around Dover harbour.

“The whole training programme is gruelling and painstaking,” he said. “There’s nothing glamorous about it.”

The 26 year old, who now lives in London, was raising money for the Safe Passage charity – an organisation which helps unaccompanied child refugees and vulnerable adults find safe, legal routes to sanctuary.

It was a visit to Calais a few years ago, and an experience with seeing refugees make the trip across the English Channel first-hand, that inspired Hunter to fund-raise for the charity.

Despite not being a professional swimmer, Hunter’s past experiences in the water came from a life-long love of surfing and swimming in the River Tyne.

Wearing only a pair of Speedos, Hunter was accompanied on Sunday by a four-person team, which encouraged him the whole way from a support boat.

He said: “We set off at 1am and the first four hours in the pitch black were terrifying. All I could see was the light from the boat, jellyfish and eels.”

Swimming 21 miles across the Channel can also be hampered by changing currents, adding additional miles on to the journey.

Hunter added: “For a lot of the way you can’t even see France so it was great when it finally came in sight, as it felt like I was getting closer.”

After completing the swim, Hunter travelled back to England by boat. A bet with a school friend, who said he wouldn’t complete the swim, has earned him £1,000. Now the swim is over, Hunter said he was looking forward to “sinking a few pints”.