Riley returns favour with epic crossing
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Mercury on 01379 651153.