Newport father ready to swim the English Channel

PUBLISHED: 13:01 10 September 2009 | UPDATED: 21:54 31 May 2010

Tony Naughton, Jon Spriggs, Murray Fraser and Pete Beatty Picture: SUBMITTED

Tony Naughton, Jon Spriggs, Murray Fraser and Pete Beatty Picture: SUBMITTED

A FATHER will fulfil a fundraising promise when he swims 22 miles across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world wearing nothing but a pair of trunks and a layer of grease. On his son s 10th birthday, Tony Naughton and four friends will attempt to

A FATHER will fulfil a fundraising promise when he swims 22 miles across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world wearing nothing but a pair of trunks and a layer of grease.

On his son's 10th birthday, Tony Naughton and four friends will attempt to swim across the English Channel to raise money for the neo natal unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

The specialist maternity care provided by the Rosie during the birth of their son Lewis has not been forgotten by Newport couple Tony and Rebecca.

"They really did an excellent job," said Mr Naughton. "I made a promise that I would raise some money to say thank you and now, 10 years later, I'm finally going to swim the channel."

Strong swimmer Mr Naughton, who runs the Otter Swim School in Bishop's Stortford, admits that enduring the cold and choppy seas with obstacles including jelly fish and tankers is a daunting challenge.

"We started training in the pool in January and in May we went down to Dover to start acclimatising ourselves to the sea conditions," said Mr Naughton.

"We have been building up our resistance by going swimming in the sea every other weekend. It's always a shock when you go in, but you start to get over it more quickly."

Mr Naughton is taking on the challenge with fellow swimmers Murray Fraser from Radwinter, Peter Beatty from Bishop's Stortford and Jon Spriggs from Billericay. They will work in a relay swimming for an hour each.

The swim from Dover to Calais could take between 11 and 18 hours depending on the weather conditions and the water temperature will be about 16C.

"Because it's a relay you are spending time in the boat which can be almost as tough as being in the water if you get seasick," said Mr Naughton. "Swimming in the salty water can cause chaffing on the skin which is why you put grease on your body.

"Once we reach France, hopefully we will all be able to swim the final leg and stand on the beach together."

The team is being supported by the Queen of the Channel, Alison Streeter MBE, who has swum the distance 43 times - more than anyone else in the world. The record breaker will pilot the support boat.

The team is hoping to raise more than £2000 for the Rosie. To sponsor Tony visit www.justgiving.com/channel_otters

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter