Camp "Little Britain" star David Walliams has sucessfully swum the English Channel today from Dover to Cap Gris-Nez, near Calais, France and is raising money for the Sport Relief charity. His achievement is remarkable because only 10% of those who have attempted to swim the Channel have successfully achieved. It was also expected that it would take hima round 16 hours to cover the distance, but it took him only around 10 and a half hours.

Times Online July 04, 2006

Little Britain star swims the Channel
By Philippe Naughton

Walliams setting off at Dover

Walliams (left) with his Little Britain co-star.

David Walliams, the Little Britain star, has successfully swum across the Channel to raise money for the charity Sport Relief, covering the 21 miles from Dover to Calais in ten and a half hours.

After almost a year of training, the comedian swapped his laydee's frock for a coat of goose fat and took the plunge at Dover's Shakespeare Beach at 5.31 am.

A Sport Relief spokeswoman said that he arrived at Cap Gris-Nez, near Calais, just after 4pm England time.

Only 10 per cent of those who have attempted to swim the Channel have managed to complete the task, and Walliams had been expected to take up to 16 hours to cover the distance. But with favourable tide and wind conditions Walliams made very good time.

Michael Read, who has swum the Channel a record 33 times, was aboard a boat accompanying the comedian and gave warning as Walliams approached the French coast that the last few miles were always the worst.

He said: "Even when you’re 100 yards away from the beach there’s no guarantee that you’ll make it. The last mile, and then the last few yards, are the most difficult. Everything seems to go against you, you’re exhausted, your body feels like lead and seeing the end in sight doesn’t necessarily help."

Mr Read, chairman of the Channel Swimming Association, said that Walliams had been stopping regularly to eat food passed to him from a pole on his support boat. "He’s been stopping every 30 minutes to take on food, he’s been eating bananas and Milky Ways and carbohydrate gel," he said.

Walliams faced a variety of hazards in the world's busiest shipping lane, including sewage, tankers, seaweed and even jellyfish.

Walliams decided to embark on the swim after visiting Ethiopia with his co-star, Matt Lucas, and is hoping to raise at least £500,000 for Sport Relief from the swim. The public can sponsor him via the sportsrelief website.