Water achievement, Ivan!
SELKIRK Cub Ivan Burt-Smith finally crossed the finish line at the end of his marathon effort to raise cash towards reslating the town’s Scout hall roof on Tuesday night.
The eight-year-old had completed 1,416 lengths of his local pool – seven weeks of swimming approximately 55 lengths a day, three to five times a week, after school.
With his proud mum Jan patiently ticking off laps on a clipboard, Ivan completed his last 20 lengths to the cheers of his sponsors and supporters – and the media.
It was the equivalent of swimming the 22 miles of English Channel from Dover to Calais.
Jan told The Wee Paper: “Every time I talk to anybody, I get tears in my ears – I’m bursting with pride.
“He’s been very excited, very hyper, all his school friends have been cheering him on and a lot of the Cubs have been coming to see him, he was just raring to go – as ever!”
She went on: “It’s amazing, the fact he’s kept doing it for so long. He didn’t, after two or three weeks, say ‘I’ve had enough’.
“There was one day when the pool was closed, and he was absolutely gutted, because he couldn’t swim. He’s been really committed and determined, and just gone for it. He’s like a wee terrier.”
And Jan revealed: “They had to stop him from swimming the final length or he would have finished too soon for the time slot on the telly.”
Graham Coulson, acting Scout leader of Selkirk Scout Group, also voiced his pride at the young Cub’s feat.
He said: “It’s a great achievement for someone who’s only eight years old to swim that length. In fact, we have a surprise for him, because we have an award we give for endeavour and commitment, so we’ll have a presentation at the Scout hall at Cubs tonight, with a big bit of cake.
“It’ll definitely be a big surprise for him.”
Mr Coulson said: “Work can only start on the new roof when we get all the funds in place. The total bill will be around £25,000, of which we have to raise £16,500. We already have just under £4,000 that we’ve raised ourselves, plus we’ve got Ivan’s swim, and we’ve got various applications in to different grant-making bodies.”
Speaking after finishing his epic challenge, and robed in a Union Jack flag, Ivan admitted to slowing only a little near the end.
“I was getting tired. I’ve swum 20 [lengths] today, and on the whole I’ve swum 1,416.”
Refusing to rest, he added: “At the moment I’m going to go to Cubs, but I’m probably going to go swimming more often now.”
Ivan’s four-figure contribution is still rising – and there’s still another month to donate to his Just Giving page Ivan’s Channel Swim, or text IVAN77 £5 to 70070. Donors can also fill in a sponsor form in several Selkirk shops.
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Weather for Selkirk
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North east