A firefighter who went missing while attempting to swim the Channel has surpassed the target for his donations.
Iain Hughes went missing on Tuesday (20 June) during his attempt to swim the 21 mile distance from the UK to France. On Wednesday evening (21 June), French authorities confirmed that the search for Hughes had been called off.
Hughes, 42, worked as a crew manager at the West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) and had set up a fundraiser for his swim, which aimed to raise £21,000, representing £1,000 for every mile.
The money raised will go to the British Heart Foundation, The Fire Fighters Charity, and the Midlands Air Ambulance.
On Wednesday, he had raised £5,000 but this has since increased to £35,882 as of today, surpassing the original goal.
Iain's colleagues have paid tribute to him following his disappearance, and have urged people to donate in tribute to him.
Simon Barry, deputy chief fire officer at WMFS, said: “We are heartbroken about the tragic news about Iain.
“We are doing everything we can to support his family.
“I hope, like us, they are heartened and comforted by the many messages of support you have shared on social media. Thank you.
“We also want to do what we can for Iain. We can’t think of any better way to support (him) than to help him raise money for his chosen charities.
“That is why this weekend we will be arranging a series of events across our service to help him meet and exceed his target.”
Hughes had left the Kent coast accompanied by a support boat before his disappearance.
A search and rescue operation saw French and Belgian rescue helicopters, alongside Navy and police patrol boats, deployed in an attempt to locate him.
The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, a service which monitors swimmers crossing the Channel, said: “The CSPF deeply regret to announce that a solo swimmer who was attempting a crossing of the English Channel on 20 June 2023, is being reported as missing in action.
"Following a sea search, the swimmer was unable to be found."
The firefighter said on social media that he had 'clocked up some 300 miles in the pool', as well as participating in open water swims in lakes, reservoirs, and the sea.
He wrote: "With the help from my family and friends I’ve raised some money along the way. It’s been windy, cold and extremely hard work!”
Around three weeks ago, he posted footage of himself training in the sea.
"Stormy weather has prevented me from attempting the channel this week!" Hughes wrote. "Managed to get some training hours with my support crew."Featured Image Credit: Instagram/hughesyswims