When Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew was awarded an eight year contract last week it landed one football correspondent in hot water - or rather, very cold water...
In 2012, such was the uncertainty surrounding the club, The Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter promised to swim the Tyne if the club committed long-term to Alan Pardew. Not one to back out of a bet, this Sunday (7th October) Henry will be swimming across the river in the shadow of the Tyne Bridge and is taking the opportunity to raise funds for cancer charity, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in the process.
With support from experienced swimmer and organiser of the annual Tyne 10 Mile River Swim, Tony Greener, Henry will take the plunge from Newcastle City Marina and swim across and down river to the pontoon at Royal Naval Reserve training unit HMS Calliope on the Gateshead bank.
In addition to Tony Greener from North Shields, who will be swimming alongside Henry, the swim has been made possible thanks to fantastic support from Port of Tyne, Northumbrian Water, NE1 and HMS Calliope.
Port of Tyne recently made a generous donation to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and named its new dredger ‘Sir Bobby Robson.’ The vessel was launched by Lady Elsie in the traditional manner and, fittingly, ‘Sir Bobby’ will be on hand as Henry undertakes his chilly crossing ahead of Newcastle United’s home game against Manchester United.
Henry says: “I honour my bets. I promised to swim the Tyne if Ashley showed long-term loyalty to Pardew.
“He has, fair play, so time for dip in Tyne...”
To donate and support Henry, please visit www.justgiving.com/TyneSwim.
Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £4 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer.
It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, and which contribute significantly to research into the disease.
Liz Luff from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation says: “We’re very grateful that Henry has chosen to help fight cancer and support the charity with his swim.
“The Tyne is a dangerous tidal river and Henry’s receiving expert support to ensure his safety. The way people have pitched in to help is very touching and we love the idea that ‘Sir Bobby’ will be on hand as Henry makes his way across the river.
“There are much easier ways to cross the Tyne and I’m sure the shoppers at Newcastle’s Quayside Market will be fascinated by his swim on Sunday morning.
“Henry deserves great credit for honouring his bet and we wish him the very best of luck with his challenge.”