Riley returns favour with epic crossing

Riley Cork has raised £6115 for Nelson's Journey by swimming the English Channel

Riley Cork has raised £6115 for Nelson's Journey by swimming the English Channel - Credit: Archant

Seven years ago, when 10-year-old Riley Cork's father died, the youngster turned to the services of the Norfolk charity Nelson's journey for help. Fast forward to last month and the Wymondham College student completed a swim of the English Channel to raise money for the charity.

Riley Cork, swimming the English Channel to raise money for Nelson's Journeyl

Riley Cork, swimming the English Channel to raise money for Nelson's Journeyl - Credit: Archant

The 17-year-old, from Beetley, and his mother Ria, decided to challenge themselves to swim the 21 miles from Dover to Calais-known as the Everest of swimming-with a target to raise £10,000 for the charity which helps children who have lost a loved one.

'It was special to do something for Nelson's journey,' said the A Level student, who hopes to study criminology at University next year.

'They're a small charity and they helped both me and my mum, and because we had so much personal history with them, it felt right.'

The Corks and a family friend, Clare Wookey, began their swim at 5.07am and finished 18 hours later, with each swimmer taking a turn at swimming for one hour in the 13C water-in the busiest shipping lane in the world.


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Mr Cork said: 'It was horrible and probably the worst 20 hours of my life. It wasn't cold, but we got hit by tides. It still feels surreal at the moment; it's a really weird feeling to know I've done it. I'm so proud though.

'The shipping lane was so close, I remember I was swimming and everyone on the support boat were looking over me and when I turned to look there was a big ferry about 100 meters from me and it was terrifying. The waves it created were massive.'

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So far £6,195 has been raised and the teenager and his mum are planning another fundraising event in August 2015.

'We're going to do Sharkfest 2015, which is swimming the one and a half miles from Alcatraz across San Francisco Bay to the City. We're going to incorporate that into a holiday.'

To sponsor Riley and Ria Cork, visit justgiving.com/corkchannelswim

Are you taking part in a fundraising challenge? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk or call the Mercury on 01379 651153.

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