Shark fears will not deter channel swim

A TERRIFYING childhood experience with a shark has not dissuaded a Suffolk paramedic from a cross-channel swim in aid of charity.

Will Clarke

A TERRIFYING childhood experience with a shark has not dissuaded a Suffolk paramedic from a cross-channel swim in aid of charity.

Mark Ransom has sought hypnotherapy to help him out in the open sea should he find himself in similar circumstances to his close encounter with a shark off Clacton at the tender age of 14.

Now 38 years old, the paramedic from Bury St Edmunds believes it was just a basking shark but he has still sought professional help to put the experience behind him for the upcoming swim in aid of East Anglia's Children's Hospices.


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He said: “When I was 14 I was out swimming quite a way out at Clacton when it swam up to me and my brother. At the time I didn't know what it was - it was just a huge shark.

“It was touching both of us and we were swimming 10 feet apart. We screamed our heads off.

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“After that I haven't liked to be out of my depth. But when this channel swim came up I realised it was something I had to overcome.”

In addition to the shark “threat” he is also receiving hypnotherapy to help him deal with the cold and remaining calm during the endurance challenge.

He admits the threat of the cold even in mid June will be his greatest worry: “I started training last June. Most of it has been in the pool although I'm also doing some sea swimming now.

“I did three-and-a-half hours down at Dover. It was very cold. I'm probably going to be in there for 12 to 14 hours. I will start at Dover in England and hope to land somewhere between Calais and Boulogne in France. I will swim approximately 26 miles in cold sea across the busiest shipping lane in the world.

“This has been a life long ambition of mine ever since I met Mike Read (a top channel swimmer) when I was 10 years old.”

So far, Mark has £500 in sponsorship but he hopes to make four times that figure. He is also looking for corporate sponsorship to cover his £2,000 costs and can be contacted by businesses or people willing to sponsor the swim itself at mark.ransom@hotmail.co.uk

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