Channel swim on the horizon for Babes trio

The East Devon Babes (Kate Jackson, Jo Billing and Kathy Anzuino). Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 1

The East Devon Babes (Kate Jackson, Jo Billing and Kathy Anzuino). Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 1592-02-13AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Three swimming mums who trained at Sidmouth seafront are fulfilling a lifelong dream and taking the plunge to cross the English Channel.

Kate Jackson, Jo Billing and Kathy Anzuino won’t get the go-ahead to jump in until the very last minute – and just before the Herald went to press yesterday the trio heard their swim had been delayed.

Known as the East Devon Babes, the ladies are determined to succeed whatever conditions they face.

“We’ve had to juggle it with the school run,” Kate said. “It’s going to be a hard swim but the training we have done will serve us in good stead.”

The trio were among around 30 people set to swim the 2.2miles from Sidmouth to Ladram Bay this month to raise money for Sidmouth Lifeboat and the Chestnut Appeal.

The event was postponed until September due to cold weather and strong tides – but the ladies have been training in all seasons so have not been deterred.

“The more you go in, the more you grow acclimatised to it, and it’s warming up,” said Kate.

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It was her idea to take part in the swim, and Jo and Kathy were soon persuaded.

“I have always wanted to swim the channel – as long as I can remember I always thought I would love to do it solo,” said Kate.

“Then I met Jo and Kathy and we shared a love of swimming and they agreed to do it with me.

“They blame me after tough training sessions – but they will be pleased when they have done it.”

The three women are tackling the 19 nautical miles in a relay, each swimming for one hour and resting for two – staying warm in sleep bags and refuelling with jam sandwiches and flapjack.

They are fundraising for Sidmouth Lifeboat have so far been pledged £3,000 towards their £5,000 target. To sponsor them, visit

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