USK café owner Christine Birch raised hundreds of pounds for St David’s Hospice Care by swimming the English Channel.

Christine, aged 47, who owns the Green Flute Café in Usk donated £1,300 to the charity after completing the gruelling crossing in 16 hours and 23 minute.

Wild water swimmer Christine, who crossed swimming in relay with Dawn Lea, of Monmouth, said: “It was very hard work putting in the training and then taking part in the swim but at the same time very enjoyable and rewarding. We trained for about nine months prior to the crossing by swimming in all weathers and temperatures in the River Usk, at the outdoor pool in Lydney and also in the sea off Barry Island.”

The two English Channel swimmers took turns in the water, an hour at a time, to complete the 21 miles from Dover to Calais in relay crossing the World’s busiest shipping lane.

Expert cake baker Christine, who was PA to Mark Roberts, MD of Gwent estate agents Roberts and Co before launching her café earlier this year, is a serial supporter of St David’s Hospice Care.

Christine donated some money she raised through her charity swim to Dr Kershaw’s Hospice in Oldham, who cared for her mother Betty Tootill before her death earlier this year.

Tania Ansell, of St David’s Hospice Care, said: “Christine is a wonderful supporter of our charity. This time she really topped it all with the marvellous amount she raised through her English Channel swim”.