Newport man completes English Channel swim for Addenbrooke's Hospital unit

PUBLISHED: 18:22 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 21:55 31 May 2010

Pictured from left, Tony Naughton, Jon Spriggs, Peter Beatty and Murray Fraser Picture: SUBMITTED

Pictured from left, Tony Naughton, Jon Spriggs, Peter Beatty and Murray Fraser Picture: SUBMITTED

ON his son s 10th birthday, a Newport swimmer started the first leg of a cross-Channel attempt to fulfil a fundraising pledge to a hospital s neo-natal unit. Setting off in the early hours of last Thursday morning, Tony Naughton and four friends completed

ON his son's 10th birthday, a Newport swimmer started the first leg of a cross-Channel attempt to fulfil a fundraising pledge to a hospital's neo-natal unit.

Setting off in the early hours of last Thursday morning, Tony Naughton and four friends completed their 22-mile relay swim from Dover to Calais in 14 hours and 14 minutes.

The team has raised more than £7000 for the Rosie at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge - the neo-natal unit which provided specialist maternity care for Mr Naughton's wife Rebecca during the birth of their son Lewis.

"Crossing the English Channel was much harder than any of us had expected," said Mr Naughton. "Swimming at night was something we hadn't really prepared for and it was difficult to keep your goggles clear and keep track of the boat."

The team, which consisted of Mr Naughton, Murray Fraser from Radwinter, Peter Beatty from Bishop's Stortford and Jon Spriggs from Billericay, worked in relay swimming for an hour each.

"We started swimming at 1.31am and by the time day broke we were astonished to see how close the white cliffs of Dover still appeared," said Mr Naughton who swam the first leg.

Undaunted the team pushed on through the day until finally reaching France at 15.45pm, when 41-year-old Murray Fraser, the youngest member of the team, climbed up onto the rocks at Cap Gris Nez to claim a successful Channel crossing.

"We had fantastic whether during the crossing, but it was quite choppy especially during the night, and the water temperature was a cold 14C," said Mr Naughton.

The team would like to thank the 1st Newport Scout Group for supporting a fundraising event for the swimmers which was compared by entertainer Fat Bloke and Slim.

Hoping to smash their target, Mr Naughton is encouraging people to continue donating money so they can raise as much as possible for the Rosie. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/channel_otters


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