AN Army captain is set to swim 24 miles - three miles further than swimming the English channel - virtually in one go.

Graham Miller, 49, will undertake the feat - a total of 1,612 lengths - in the outdoor heated pool of Colchester’s David Lloyd gym.

His aim is to raise thousands for St Helena Hospice which needs £24,000 a day to run its services.

Graham, from Colchester, said: “I am just going to keep going.

“I will just be looking at the bottom of the pool.”

Graham has allowed himself up to 20 hours to swim in a lane of the pool and plans to use a variety of strokes - possibly with the exception of the notoriously tiring butterfly.

He’s started training for the June 14 challenge by increasing general fitness and time in the pool which the gym has allowed him free access to despite him not being a member, to show its support.

Graham will just pause briefly each hour during the challenge to hydrate, refuel and take toilet breaks.

He masterminded the idea in November following his work as an ambassador for St Helena Hospice, which sees him tell people about its services at its hospices in Colchester and Tendring.

He also has personal reasons for supporting it.

Graham said: “My nan was cared for by the hospice and my mum who passed away three years ago.

“I have always had a close link with the hospice and have been a fundraiser for them for a number of years. About three years ago I became an ambassador as well.

“I have done marathons, Iron Man challenges, triathlons and I just wanted to do something different.

“One thing I haven’t done is a swim challenge.

“I thought about swimming 24 miles to help raise £24,000.

“When I go around and talk about the hospice I tell people it costs £24,000 to provide the services a day.

“That’s £8.9million a year and two thirds of that comes from fundraising.

“The chief executive made it clear publicly last year that people are dying while on the hospice waiting list.

“It is all about raising as much money as possible and awareness and saying this is our hospice and our community.

“Everybody who I talk to about the hospice is really passionate about it.”

To boost his fundraising efforts, Graham will have another lane of the pool open at the same time as his challenge.

He is inviting swimmers to book one-hour slots in return for £100 sponsorship each.

Participants can set their own challenge for this, such as to complete as many lengths as possible or swim non-stop if they are a beginner.

Graham’s Army career spanned 24 years as a combat medical technician before he was commissioned to be a captain with Colchester’s 254 Medical Regiment.

To book a swimming slot email Graham at

He would also like to hear from businesses willing to sponsor him.

His fundraising page is at:

The length of swimming the channel is 21 miles - due to the s-shaped route swimmers take caused by the tide and it takes between seven and 27 hours.