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Former Raleigh CO attempts tough ocean swim for charity

29 July 2016
A former Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh, who was born and bred in Plymouth, is set to lead a 30 mile swim locally in open water, to raise money for three charities.

Commodore (Cdre) Laurie Brokenshire, his wife and family will be setting off collectively on a 30 mile swim from Fowey to Plymouth on Saturday 6 August.  

The 63-year-old has recently been diagnosed as having inoperable, rapidly terminal brain cancer, so will be raising money to support Macmillan Cancer Support, Christian Vision for Men and Care For The Family.

A former Royal Navy swimmer, Cdre Brokenshire now lives in Stubbington and swims a mile in the Solent nearly every day. 

In his younger days, growing up in Plymouth, he was a member of the Port of Plymouth Swimming Association and took part in the Breakwater Swim, as did two of his children.  

Cdre Brokenshire has named the challenge ‘ABC Swim' (A Brokenshire Clan Swim) - subtitled the '30–30–30 challenge'.  

He said, “It’ll be 30 years since I completed my solo Channel swim, so we will be swimming 30 miles, trying to raise a lot of money, hopefully the final figure will contain a three and a zero – 30K perhaps! 

"In total there are eight members of the family taking part here: myself, my wife Ethel, our children Sarah, Matthew and Phillip and their spouses Bobby, Chloe and Rosalie.  

"Some of the grandchildren, or “Grandelfs” as I like to call them, might also take a brief dip, they're all three or under, and two other family members, Rachel and Craig, will take to the water in South Africa to add to the mileage.”

In total there are eight members of the family taking part here: myself, my wife Ethel, our children Sarah, Matthew and Phillip and their spouses Bobby, Chloe and Rosalie.

Commodore Laurie Brokenshire, former Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh

The swim is being generously supported by Royal Marines Tamar and will start at Fowey Harbour at dawn. The family hope to reach Plymouth before sunset.  

Born in Stoke, Cdre Brokenshire is a former pupil of Devonport High School for Boys and studied for his first degree at Exeter University.  

He spent 30 years in the Royal Navy as a submariner and was Commodore of HMS Raleigh from 2000 to 2003 before heading-up the UK Sea Cadet Corps.  

He and his wife, who was a WREN, were followed into the Royal Navy by his daughter Sarah, who is still serving, and son Matthew, who has recently left the Royal Marines.

Cdre Brokenshire is a committed Christian, so many are not only praying for this swim but, more importantly, for him to be healed from the brain cancer. 

He is a former RN Chess Champion and is still the President of the Combined Services Chess Association.  

His other achievements include magically entertaining royalty, being a Life Member of The Magic Circle, cycling with Ethel more than once around the World, fostering 68 children, and counting, being a Mensa member (Number 86) and owner of one of the biggest collections of puzzles in the world.

Anyone wishing to support Cdre Brokenshire and his family can do so online by uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ABC_Swim

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