On Friday 24th August, long time supporter of NSVL, John Ellis, once again completed his swim from St Mary's Lighthouse to Cullercoats Bay to raise money for the club.
You can still sponsor John here or read on for more information and photos...
For most of us, having the self-discipline to exercise on a daily basis is often too big a challenge to keep up, however for John Ellis from Gateshead, turning up at Cullercoats Bay every day, for his 30 minute sea-swim has become second nature for the super fit senior and on Friday 24th August he took the challenge even further by completing a charity swim from St Mary's Lighthouse to Cullercoats!
However what makes John's physical feat all the more remarkable is he does so with a prosthetic leg.
Now in his early sixties, John lost his left leg (just below the knee) following a tragic house fire in his early twenties. Yet against all odds John vowed never to let his disability get the better of him.
John started swimming at Cullercoats Bay following the closure of Tynemouth's open air swimming pool, and whatever the weather he'll be out swimming with his special ‘sea leg', as he has done for more than 30 years!
When asked about the colder months, John replied ‘the temperature drops to less than 5 degrees Celsius in the winter, but that never stops me from going in'.
Even more startling is that his only protection from the cold is a head cap and shorts – no wet suits for John. But the cold doesn't bother him – in fact, John is so convinced of the healing qualities of the sea that he claims never to have suffered even so much as a head cold since he started: “A dip in the sea works wonders for your cardio vascular strength and respiratory system, leaving you completely invigorated ready for the day ahead!”
John navigated the 3 miles from St. Mary's Lighthouse to Cullercoats Bay on Friday 24th August, one of the few sunny days of summer. But it wasn't easy going for John, who had to contend with the tail end of a swell caused by near gale force northerly winds just a few days before. This made swimming round the headland points quite heavy going and added about 45 minutes to his usual time. Sill, John managed the swim in an impressive 2 hours 15 minutes and was greeted by a cheer and round of applause from hundreds of sun seekers spending the day at Cullercoats.
John's fundraising efforts have been hampered by the poor weather and fewer beach goers this summer, but he has still netted an impressive total of over £600 for NSVL. The money raised will be put towards buying a new inshore rescue boat for the North Sea Volunteer Lifeguards.
Geoff Wade, from NSVL, said, "John's efforts have raised thousands for the club in previous years, and the money raised is getting us ever closer to our £8,000 target for the new rescue boat.
"A new rescue boat will mean we can provide first class training for lifeguards and additional safety cover outside the summer season and on evenings and weekends for the beaches of North Tyneside. "
Anyone who would like to sponsor John can still do so either by meeting him in person, mornings at Cullercoats Bay, sponsoring him at the lifeguard station there, or donating online at http://www.smartgive.com/showpublicevent.php?url=johnswim.