The Light [Licensing Industry Giving Help Together] Fund charity has attracted a large and growing number of sponsors and donations for its forthcoming English Channel Relay fundraiser, and can now announce the Master Sponsors – the two groups that have taken on the biggest sponsorships available for this year’s Light Fund challenge.

The event takes place this summer. On a day between June 30 and July 3 (when the weather conditions are right), two boats of six swimmers will race each other across the English Channel to France in aid of charity. All the participants will be from the licensing industry, trying to be first to make it from Dover to the French coast: a 21-mile journey that could end up closer to 40 miles if you include tidal shifts.

Playmates Toys and Wow! Stuff have both guaranteed five-figure sums to support the pivotal role of the two pilot boats transporting, supporting, and protecting both six-member swim teams during the relay.

The Master Sponsorships don’t just support the hire of the boats. They also 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 of course a licence 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 beneficiary the RNLI and a number of other organisations and projects supported by the charity that is inspired, and run, by the licensing industry.

Michael Chan of Playmates Toys said: “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. It’s a real honour to be a Master Sponsor for the licensing industry’s biggest charity challenge of the year.”

Richard North, CEO of Wow! Stuff, added: “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?”. 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.”

Some 70 other businesses working in the licensing industry have supported the swimmers with sponsorships varying from hundreds to thousands of pounds, covering everything from drinks bottles and deep sea water training to towels, 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.

The generosity of all the companies backing this feat will be saluted both on and beyond the day of the swim itself. Every sponsor will be namechecked in a special thank-you video that will be among the highlights of this year’s Licensing Awards ceremony.

But there’s a lot more money to be raised and only a few months until the English Channel Relay takes place. There are still many sponsorship opportunities. You can find out more about corporate sponsorship options here. And individuals are very welcome to donate via the event’s Just Giving page, where you can follow the teams preparing for the big day. There’s also an Instagram feed and a Facebook page containing team photos and updates.

And on the big day, a limited access live feed is planned in tandem with GPS trackers on each pilot boat: watch out for announcements on how to follow this exciting challenge as it happens.

As Stephen Gould, who will be captaining one of the two teams, says: “Without the dozens of sponsors and hundreds of smaller donations from so many people in the licensing industry, this wouldn’t be happening. If you’ve backed us already, our sincere and grateful thanks. If you haven’t as yet, there are more opportunities to support our teams and the many very worthwhile causes backed by the licensing industry’s very own charity.”

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