Water efforts benefit children’s hospital

Channel swimmer Kevin Black.Channel swimmer Kevin Black.
Channel swimmer Kevin Black.
Kevin Black can sometimes feel the heat as a British Gas employee - but the temperature’s set to fall when he takes the plunge for charity.

The 35-year-old is in a team who will defy the cold and hazards such as jellyfish and passing traffic to swim across the English Channel.

Kevin, of Juniper Road, Viewpark, and his friends are each hoping to raise at least £1,000 for London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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A keen swimmer as a boy, Kevin was an English schools champion before taking up rugby. After breaking his leg he returned to swimming and is relishing new challenges.

Kevin, Gemma Gibb, from Lanark, and Isle of Wight couple Ian and Ruth Butler will attempt the channel crossing in July. They will take it in turn to swim a mile and will look to complete the task in around 13 hours.

Kevin said: “The shortest distance across the channel is 21 miles, but they say you can swim double that because of the pull of the current.

“The hardest part is when you get within sight of France. You’re only five miles from shore, but it’s like swimming in treacle because of the current and that is where a lot of people have to give up.”

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What makes it harder is that, under Channel Swimming Association rules, wetsuits aren’t allowed so Kevin has been training in his Speedos to get used to the cold.

He said: “Gemma and I have been training at Strathclyde Park, Bardowie Loch near Glasgow and Loch Lomond. The channel swim is in July so it shouldn’t be quite as cold, but we’ll still be plastered in a mixture of vaseline and linoleum oil to give us an extra layer.”

Kevin and pals raised £3,000 for the hospital last year by swimming from North to South Queensferry across the Forth. He’d like to attempt a solo channel crossing and says the relay will give him an idea of what is involved.

Sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Kev-Black