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Tributes paid following death of long-distance swimming ‘legend’

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TRIBUTES have been paid to local swimming legend and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Gravett, who died earlier this week.

Home of Sally Minty-Gravett, English Channel swimmer who is going to attempt her sixth crossing next year. L>R Sally with her husband Charlie Gravett Picture: ROB CURRIE. (28807171)

Mr Gravett (77), alongside wife Sally Minty-Gravett, played a huge part in helping Jersey to produce long-distance swimmers and he completed a number of individual and team endurance events.

In 2016 he was inducted into the IMSHOF and later that year Mrs Minty-Gravett was made an MBE for her services to swimming.

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Mr Gravett was in the RAF for 24 years – from 1959 to 1983 – and his commitment to the military continued through a partnership with the charity Holidays for Heroes Jersey, which gives injured service personnel and their families the chance to have a break in the Island.

Co-founder of Holidays for Heroes Jersey Richard Woodhouse said: ‘Charlie created and masterminded four round-Island relay swims which included teams from the Army, Royal Navy, RAF and USAF.

‘The funds raised for us by the swims were amazing and Charlie will always be remembered as a legend by all at Holidays for Heroes Jersey.’

Among his many achievements, Mr Gravett shares a Guinness World Record for being part of a six-man-relay team that swam 115.86km from southern Turkey to Kyrenia in Cyprus in 44 hours.

Mr Gravett was also a key member of the support team for a number of events. From 1987 he served as an escort pilot for the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Association, frequently guiding on the Jersey-to-France crossing and the round-Island swim.

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Ned Denison, who chairs the IMSHOF, said: ‘Charlie was a big personality, extraordinarily generous with his time and a leader in the sport for more than 50 years. He’ll be missed by so many.’

Away from swimming, Mr Gravett was a Tottenham Hotspur fan and served as president of the Jersey Spurs Supporters Club for nine years.

The club paid tribute on Facebook, remembering Mr Gravett for the trips away to watch Spurs play at White Hart Lane that the group had enjoyed under his leadership.

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