Father to swim Channel in memory of daughter


John Young will swim the Channel with his three friends

A FATHER is preparing to swim the English Channel in memory of his daughter who died of cancer.

John Young, 46, and his three friends have been spotted swimming in the River Forth at Portobello in Edinburgh as they prepare to take on the challenge.

Verity died of cancer in 2009 when she was only eight-years-old.

The quartet hope to make a dent in the 100,000 fundraising target for her charity, the Teapot Trust, to hire play therapists for children’s hospitals.

Mr Young, from Edinburgh, said:

“We need to recreate conditions as best we can and, because we’ll be setting off at three in the morning it will be pitch black.

“We’ve been swimming out from Portobello up to a mile offshore and out from Gullane round Bass rock and back. It’s a bit of a strange feeling swimming in the dark, but one advantage is the Channel won’t be as cold as the Forth. “

Mr Young and his friends John Hobbs, Jennifer Cohen and Diana Dawson will swim the world’s busiest waterway in a relay format in rotas of an hour.

They will set off on 7 August and expect the challenge to take around 16 hours.

John takes a dip with his wife Laura and daughters Nina and Isla

But he said conquering the Channel is not going to be easy as more people have successfully scaled Mount Everest.

He added:

“It does depend on the weather and we need to catch the tide, which is why it sets of at 3am.

“There are all kinds of rules from the order of swimmers being adhered to down to the size of your Speedos.

“There are also the currents. Sometimes people can get to within 200 yards of France, put their head down and next time they look up they’re four miles away and have to give up. “

Despite her young age Verity was passionate about blood donation and insisted that sessions were held to encourage people to come along.

She was even given the rare posthumous Blue Peter gold badge.

Verity spent a lot of time in the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh fighting cancer and lupus and got a great pleasure from the play therapist who came round.

Mr Young and his wife, Laura, set up the Teapot Trust and have staged several blood donor days.

Mr Young said:

“Certainly when I’m getting tired or a bit cold, I just think of Verity laughing and telling me not to give in.

“She would have enjoyed the idea of this. “

To donate to the charity visit www.teapot-trust.org