Broadwater therapists’ epic charity swim

Julie and Christine will swim 50 kilometres between them
Julie and Christine will swim 50 kilometres between them

TWO physiotherapists from Broadwater will swim 50 kilometres between them in a bid to raise money for some of the most disadvantaged children in the world.

Julie and Christine Pilcher, from Forest Road, will fly to Vietnam in May on a self-funded trip to volunteer for a month, helping disabled children with physiotherapy.

But before they fly to Vietnam, the two sisters will each swim 25 kilometres to raise money to pay for physiotherapy equipment they can use with the children.

The pair previously swam for Worthing Swimming Club, and will complete their swims in separate countries. Christine, 27, will complete her swim at the Aquarena, where the pair swam for the club, while Julie, 24, will complete the epic feat of endurance in Switzerland, where she is currently based.

Christine said: “We’ve been swimming since five so we’re quite strong swimmers but probably the most we’ve swam is a couple of hours of swimming so it’s going to be a pretty big challenge.”

In a trial run Julie has already managed to complete the 25 kilometre-swim, taking eight hours to finish and leaving her with skin which felt “sun-burnt” from the chlorine.

To train for the long-distance swim, Christine has been swimming up to 10 kilometres a day at the Aquarena.

Previously, Julie volunteered in Kenya, but this time the pair decided to go on a trip together.

Julie’s work in Switzerland will come to an end at the same time Christine’s MSC at Brighton University in April.

Christine said it was learning the effects Agent Orange – a combination of herbicides and defoliants used during the Vietnam war by the US military – had on children in the country which had encouraged them both to volunteer there.

She said: “Julie wanted to do more volunteering and I had been interested, too.

“And with her finishing her work in Switzerland and me finishing my degree the timing was perfect.

“We read about the effects of Agent Orange and how it’s still affecting people out there and we thought maybe we can use our skills to make a difference.”

At the moment, Christine and Julie do not know the age group of children they will be helping during their month-long trip.

When they get to Vietnam, the charity which is helping them volunteer will decide how their skills can be best used.

But Christine said she was looking forward to the volunteering.

“Hopefully, we can make a bit of a difference,” she added.

Christine will begin her swim on April 8 at 7am.

She and Julie hope to raise around £2,000 in total for physiotherapy equipment they can use in Vietnam.

To donate towards the money for the equipment, email