The names of both Master Sponsors will now appear on the two vessels: Pilot Boat Optimist and Pilot Boat High Hopes. The sponsorships include pay for the pilot, crew, observers, Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation (CS&PF) registrations and access to the internal marina at Dover as well pick-up collections, car parking and a license for swimming across the busiest shipping channel in the world – with around 1,000 vessels per day in transit.
Both sponsorships also include a donation towards this year's Light Fund Challenge target of £250,000, which will be shared by principal beneficiaries the RNLI and several other organizations and projects supported by the charity inspired and run by the licensing industry.
Along with Playmates Toys and Wow! Stuff, 70 other businesses working in the licensing industry have supported the swimmers with sponsorships varying from hundreds to thousands of pounds – and covering everything from drinks bottles to deep seawater training and from towels to film and drone technology.
The money raised and pledged so far has taken the two teams almost two-thirds of the way to their target of £250,000 – which will be a record for any single Light Fund challenge.
Every sponsor will be namechecked in a special thank-you video that will be among the highlights of this year's Licensing Awards ceremony. On the day itself, a limited access live feed is also planned with GPS trackers on each pilot boat: watch out for announcements on how to follow this exciting challenge as it happens.
This summer, between June 30 and July 3 (pending weather conditions), two boats of six swimmers will be racing each other across the English Channel to France in aid of The Light Fund charity. All the participants will be from the licensing industry, trying to be the first to make it from Dover to the French coast – a 21-mile journey that could end up closer to 40 miles when including tidal shifts.
"We jumped at the opportunity to give our backing to this extraordinary challenge and play a role in bringing essential support to these two brave and committed teams," says Michael Chan, chairman, executive director, Playmates Toys. "It's a real honor to be a Master Sponsor for the licensing industry's biggest charity challenge of the year."
"When we heard that the licensing industry was supplying two teams to do a relay swim across the Channel, we thought two things: 'Are they mad?' and 'How can we help?,'" says Richard North, chief executive officer, Wow! Stuff. "The Light Fund helped the toy industry initiative ToyAid, that Joel Silverman and I set up during the height of the pandemic. This is Wow! Stuff's thanks for that involvement and our commitment to be with the mad team of Light Fund swimmers every step – or stroke – of the way."
"Without the dozens of sponsors and hundreds of smaller donations from so many people in the licensing industry, this wouldn't be happening," says Stephen Gould, team member, The Light Fund. "If you've backed us already, our sincere and grateful thanks. If you haven't as yet, there are many more opportunities to support our teams and the many very worthwhile causes backed by the licensing industry's very own charity."
There are still many sponsorship opportunities out there. Find out more about corporate sponsorship options
. Individuals are very welcome to donate via the event's
, where you can also follow the teams preparing for the big day. There's also an
feed and a
page containing team photos and updates.
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