Sacha Dench is a conservationist and adventurer, known as the ‘human swan’ for her expedition following the migration of the endangered wild Bewick’s swan from Arctic Russia all the way to the UK. She did this in a paramotor - dangling 1000s of feet in the air from a piece of fabric, with a propeller on her back.
She was the first woman to cross the English Channel by paramotor and is a 2017 ‘Woman of the Year’. She was awarded the Royal Aero Club’s ‘Britannia Trophy’ in 2018, previously won by Sir Richard Branson and the Red Arrows, and making her the first woman to win it in over 50 years.
But Sacha’s background was mostly underwater. Growing up in Australia, UK and Switzerland she developed a passion for wildlife and exploring and learnt that she could hold her breath long enough to scare people. Beating the world record for breath hold (6 minutes 22 seconds) in a training session one day led to her competing for the UK and Australia at freediving, and some unusual stunt roles including a dead human, a dying shark, an underwater bad guy in ‘Home and Away’ and a human dolphin for a whisky brand.
Also a trained biologist, Sacha has worked in pollution investigations shark and turtle research, and co-founded volunteer group ‘Eco Divers’, a group of divers using their bare hands and cameras to save sea life in distress. She has worked in conservation communication, including film and photography, ever since.