07 Sep 2011

Walliams vs the Thames

Walliams VS the ThamesComedian, writer and actor David Walliams is currently taking on his toughest physical challenge ever – swimming the length of the river Thames for Sport Relief.

Sport Relief is well known for its initiatives that get everyone active and raise cash to help change lives in the UK and the world’s poorest countries.

This year BT is sponsoring The BT Sport Relief Challenges with the aim of raising 1 million pounds, and Walliams VS the Thames is the first of these tough celebrity endurance feats.

David’s previous charity challenges have included swimming the English Channel and cycling the length of Britain as part of the BT Sport Relief Million Pound Bike Ride. Now, after months of training he’s begun his latest challenge. This one will see him swim about 140 miles in just eight days, tackling tides, exhaustion and busy local river traffic to finish at Big Ben on 12 September.

On his way David will pass through several major towns including Oxford, Reading, Henley, Maidenhead, Windsor, Kingston and Richmond.

David said: “Most people in the UK know the Thames, and most people think the idea of swimming in it is horrifying! And it is. It’ll be relentless. It’s a huge distance so I'll need all the support I can get. It’s really not a safe environment to swim in – people really mustn’t try this, I have an incredible team of experts to help keep me safe. If there’s a lot of rainfall there’ll be a lot of sewage present so I’ve had to have loads of jabs. And aside from anything else, you can’t see anything! There’s zero visibility in the water - I won’t even be able to see the end of my arm.”

BT is inviting its staff and customers to help keep David afloat through a dedicated page on the online fundraising service BT MyDonate.
Warning: Do not try this yourself. The tidal Thames is incredibly dangerous and many people, including strong swimmers, have drowned in its waters which have powerful tides and unpredictable currents.

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