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Children in need

You are in: Tees > Children in need > Swimming for Pudsey

people show support for the team by producing posters

Children produce posters for the team

Swimming for Pudsey

On the 31st of October, when many of us were waking up to start another day at work, as well as preparing for Halloween, five men from the Co. Durham area were pushing themselves to the limit for Children in Need.

Neil Martin, Kelvin McArdle, Frank Whitelock, Paul Turner and John Hutchinson teamed up to swim the length of the English channel for Children In Need at 6am on the morning of Halloween, a similar stunt to that of Little Britain star David Walliams in 2006.

“Kelvin had some friends in Consett who were doing a similar thing, but it was an idea that came about because of what David Walliams had done in 2006, only we didn't have to worry about Jelly Fish!” joked Neil Martin.

"Luckily we didn't need anything like that because the pool was heated, I wouldn't have fancied being covered in that."

Neil Martin

The team performed the challenge in a swimming pool at Aykley Heads Police Training Headquarters in Durham. The full distance of the English channel being twenty one miles, or 1,344 lengths of the 25m pool.

Neil completed the full distance in 10 hours and 22 minutes, beating the time set by David Walliams.

Kelvin, Frank and Paul managed 26 miles between them, giving the group a total of 47 miles, the equivalent of just over two crossings of the channel.

Testing conditions

Although they didn't have to battle through strong currents, freezing waters or the occasional tanker and ferry, it is something that was be both physically and mentally demanding.

Ten hours and thirty minutes was the bench mark which had been set by the Little Britain star and a time the team were hoping to beat.

Frank Whitlock, Paul Turner and Neil Martin

Frank Whitlock, Paul Turner and Neil Martin

“I think to beat time that is great, but what you have to remember is we got to push off a wall every so often whereas David was out there struggling against all sorts of things”, explained Neil.

The group had been training hard for over two months leading up to the event and hope to do the swim each year for Children in Need.

“In training we started off doing 100 metre sets and steadily increased it, we are all quite physically fit, Kelvin and I swim on a regular basis and Frank is a triathlete but we all had a decent level of fitness when we started training.”

The swimmers had breaks only to take on food and answer the occasional call from nature, however unlike David Walliams the group assured BBC Tees they did not think about covering themselves in Goose fat during the twenty one mile swim.

"Luckily we didn't need anything like that because the pool was heated, I wouldn't have fancied being covered in that" added Neil.

The team were hoping to raise as much money as possible and were been given lots of support from young members of the public who had created posters for the big day.

last updated: 05/11/2008 at 14:31
created: 30/10/2008

You are in: Tees > Children in need > Swimming for Pudsey

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