Lundy swimmers hope to make history

ORGANISERS are busy making final preparations ahead of an historic endurance event that they hope will raise �10,000 for charity. It s thought to be nearly 60 years since anyone attempted to swim between Lundy Island and the North Devon mainland. But n

ORGANISERS are busy making final preparations ahead of an historic endurance event that they hope will raise �10,000 for charity.

It's thought to be nearly 60 years since anyone attempted to swim between Lundy Island and the North Devon mainland.

But next month, a team of hardy swimmers is hoping to recreate the arduous crossing - and make their own piece of history in the process.

On Sunday, August 16, Bruce Hughes, 39, Paul Irwin, 42, Jon Parker and Simon Mathers, 37, hope to complete the first ever relay swim from Lundy to Woolacombe.


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The foursome - and swim tactician and reserve swimmer John Jameson - will be setting off from Lundy and swimming an estimated 21 miles to the mainland in aid of the Children's Hospice South West.

"It's the equivalent to the crossing the English Channel - only with deeper water and faster currents," said Dr Hughes, a GP at Fremington Medical Practice.

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"The Lundy swim is our attempt at a first; no-one has swum this stretch of water previously. We're doing it because we all want a challenge, and we recognise that not everyone is as fortunate as us; we have our health and often take that for granted.

"For the children at Children's Hospice South West, every day is a challenge, but one that they take on with the sort of optimism we can learn a lesson from."

The team will take inspiration from a similar swim made by made by an Egyptian army captain in 1952. Champion swimmer, Capt Hassan Abdel Rahim, had already set a record for crossing the English Channel by the time he was offered the chance to be the first to swim from Hartland to Lundy.

"We're not superhuman swimmers; we're just ordinary blokes who want to do something different and raise money and awareness of the hospice," said Dr Hughes, also the medical director at the Fremington-based Little Bridge House hospice.

The swimmers will be backed by a medical team and support boats are being provided by Rudi Lancaster and Bristol Channel Charters, as well as Ilfracombe Yacht Club.

People can donate money online through the Just Giving website at www.justgiving.com/lundyswim

Supporters will be able to follow the swim live as photos will be uploaded from the support boat on the day.

The team hopes for fair winds and clear skies but in case of bad weather, a reserve day has been set aside for August 30.

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