Five-mile challenge goes swimmingly

THREE months ago they struggled to swim a mile-and-a-half.

Anthony Bond

THREE months ago they struggled to swim a mile-and-a-half.

But following a gruelling training regime, seven dedicated fathers successfully completed a five-mile swim yesterdayto raise money for their children's school.

Despite swimming in the fast-flowing Alde and Ore estuary at Aldeburgh the men managed to knock 40 minutes off their expected time. More importantly, they raised more than £4,000 towards a new wind turbine at Orford Primary School, near Woodbridge.

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One of the team, Tony Pick, 41, said: “When we started three months ago we jumped in at Snape Maltings and swam down to Iken, probably about a mile-and-a-half, and we thought that there was no way we could swim five miles.

“But all the training that we have done over the past three months has paid off and we are really pleased. The first half-hour was difficult trying to get into a routine but after that we felt really good and the weather conditions were really favourable. The support we had was brilliant.”

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The crew from the RNLI's Aldeburgh Inshore Lifeboat accompanied the men on the swim as well as the rescue boat from Orford Sailing Club.

But they were not needed as the seven swimmers powered their way to the finish line at Orford Quay to be met by a welcoming crowd and a bottle of champagne.

“We were quite relieved that we managed to finish and we felt quite ecstatic and had a bottle of champagne to celebrate,” said Mr Pick, whose two children attend Orford Primary School. “It was nice to see the big crowd on the quay and we felt elated.”

With more than £4,000 raised from the swim it is hoped that the rest of the money needed for a turbine will come from grants.

And the swimmers are in no doubt about its importance.

“We felt that with the cost of energy at the moment a wind turbine was the right way to go forward,” said Mr Pick. “If we can reduce the energy bill at the school and educate the children about green energy then it is a good thing to do.”

The team consisted of Dom Kilburn, Tony Pick, Dave Pannell, Tim Hannon, Steve Gray, Jaco Coetze and Tim Reed.

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