Opcare is pleased to support the five-person Bits Missing swim team who are bravely taking on the North Channel swim on the 20th of June from Donaghadee in Northern Ireland and finishing in Portpatrick, Scotland on the Mull of Galloway, which is about 21.5 miles.
The North Channel swim is one of the most challenging sea swims in the world owing to the low temperatures, jellyfish, changeable weather and demanding swimming conditions.
Meet The Team
The team is made up of 5 swimmers with 5 legs who will take turns swimming for an hour at a time and are looking to complete the epic challenge in 12-18 hours.
David Burke – Newry, Northern Ireland
A qualified swim teacher and open water lifeguard, leading the team is David Burke who has been a single above amputee since 1972 as a result of a car crash at the age of 7. David has already swam the North Channel in two teams, Team 11 feet, and Infinity v, and has also swam the English Channel in team Carlingford Waves.
Andrew Smith – Nottinghamshire, England
The latest – and oldest – to join the group, 60-year-old Andrew Smith had always been a strong pool swimmer, but following a motorcycle accident in 2000 had to re-train. Andrew began Open Water Swimming seriously in April 2021, he heard about a team of amputees planning to swim the North Channel and got in touch with David Burke via the charity Bluetonic. David made space for him on the team and Andrew is now excited to be one of the first people with a disability to swim the Northern Channel.
You can donate to Andrews’s GoFundMe page here.
Mary Clewlow – Cardiff, Wales
Mary Clewlow lost her left leg above the knee following a diagnosis of bone cancer aged 17. Her dad taught her to swim at the age of three and she always loved the water. Following her amputation, he encouraged her to continue swimming and whist training as a doctor at Liverpool University Mary would travel to the Lake District to open water swim. Mary is raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust which provides age-appropriate expert care for young people facing cancer in their units.
You can donate to Mary’s JustGiving page here.
Jonty Warneken – North Yorkshire, England
The world’s first disabled person to swim the International Ice Swimming Association “Ice Mile”, Jonty has also represented Great Britain at the Ice Swimming World Championships and sat on the global board of the International Ice Swimming Association helping to run the sport. Jonty is swimming for OpenCountry, a Yorkshire-based charity that enables people with disabilities to access and enjoy the countryside.
You can donate to Jonty’s Givey page here.
Kate Sunley – Stockton-on-Tees, England
Kate is an above knee amputee for nearly 29 years, following knee trouble caused by a fall. For Kates, swimming has been very therapeutic both physically and mentally and has led her to challenge herself in ways she never thought possible!
You can donate to Kate’s JustGiving page here.
5 Swimmers, 5 Legs, One Goal – We wish all the swimmers the best of luck!