It’s only been done once before - but this Friday two men from Bude are going to attempt to swim the 12 miles from Hartland to Lundy Island

Gary Readman and Steve Maclure with Tim Hudson (right) and his boat the Marie J that will accompany them on their Lundy swim attempt, joined by John Webber, whose father Cyril made the attempt in 1952. Picture: Tony GussinGary Readman and Steve Maclure with Tim Hudson (right) and his boat the Marie J that will accompany them on their Lundy swim attempt, joined by John Webber, whose father Cyril made the attempt in 1952. Picture: Tony Gussin

Two men are set to recreate an epic 1952 charity open water swim tomorrow (Friday) by swimming from Hartland to Lundy.

Gary Readman and Steve Maclure will be trying to repeat the 1952 achievement of Egyptian army Captain Hassan Abdel Rahim and Cyril Webber from Barnstaple.

A happy set of circumstances also led to Gary and Steve meeting up with Cyril's son John on the eve of their endurance bid to hear more about the first ever attempt on June 30, 1952.

They are setting off from Hartland early on Friday morning, accompanied by Tim Hudson from Instow and his boat Marie J, a traditional Appledore-built boat similar to the one used in the first swim.

Gary Readman and Steve Maclure in training for their Lundy swim bid.Gary Readman and Steve Maclure in training for their Lundy swim bid.

While they are the first to swim from Hartland since 1952, in 2010, local ironman Nick Thorn swam from Lundy to Woolacombe solo in six hours and 25 minutes.

He wished them luck on the Gazette Facebook page and challenged them to beat his time.

The Bude pair met with John at Instow beach to hear how Cyril had to withdraw due to sickness but Capt Rahim - who stayed at the Webber family home for two weeks before the swim - was able to complete the distance.

The original Lundy swim offered as a prize '£250 or four bullocks' and it is understood Capt Rahim opted to take the money back to Egypt.

Cyril Webber, who attempted the Lundy swim in 1952, with some of his swimming trophies. Picture: John WebberCyril Webber, who attempted the Lundy swim in 1952, with some of his swimming trophies. Picture: John Webber

Steve, a Formula One rigger and Gary, who works in construction, are veteran open water swimmers and will be making their bid to raise money for charity.

They have already raised more than £2,000 for Bude Rugby Club Minis/Juniors and Corey Alway and Ben Bennett, two seriously ill children in Bude.

The pair believe the swim is only possible on the smallest of tides and in good weather, two things which have combined this week.

They decided to attempt it after reading a story on the North Devon Gazette website about the 1952 swim and putting an appeal out on Radio Devon for information about Cyril Webber.

Steve said: "The whole thing has evolved from Gary reading the story online. Meeting up with John, not only have we got information about his father's swim, but he has hooked us up with Tim, who is perfect for this job.

"I think we are confident, Gary has swum the distance not long ago at a charity swim in Bude and I have swum it in the sea pool at Bude.

"Originally I was just interested in doing the swim, but the history of it has enlivened the whole thing for me."

John added: "It's never actually been done since my father and the Egyptian back in 1952. I shall be very impressed if they can complete it, because it's very difficult with the tides and everything else."

And he recalled from 1952: "My father met Capt Rahim and his trainer Ali Denk when he was stationed in Egypt during World War Two and organised swimming and water polo games against the Egyptian teams.

"They came to North Devon with the intention of my father swimming alongside Rahim and stayed with us here in Barnstaple.

"I was only three years old at the time but mum once told me a story of how Rahim chased a chicken he intended on having for his tea around a field - with a machete in his hand and me sitting on his shoulders!"

**** If you would like to sponsor Gary and Steve, go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lundyswim