Wearside therapist to take on Atlantic Ocean swim challenge

Ben and Esme

Ben and Esme

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A Houghton therapist will play a crucial role in a world record-breaking attempt to swim the Atlantic Ocean.

Esmé Bebb from Houghton will join the support crew of intrepid Ben Hooper who will attempt the mammoth feat in November, which will see him swimming for 12 hours a day over 120 days in an attempt to cross the Mid-South Atlantic Ocean.

The therapist responded to an advert for crew members for the Swim The Big Blue attempt and will now take on the role of on-board therapist. The water support role will see her driving a RIB, (rigid inflatable boat) and paddling a kayak as the team brave 30 foot waves, shark-inhabited waters and the harsh equatorial sun.

The daring challenge, which will start in Senegal and finish in Northern Brazil, will raise money for five charities: Help 4 Henry, Maggie’s, SOS Children’s, Addiction and CCP (County Community Project).

Esmé will be a vital member of the support team for Ben, who has previously served with the army and the police.

And she says the challenge is a perfect way of combining her professional life with her wanderlust and kayaking skills.

Along the way, she will be taking water samples for researchers from University of North Carolina and will be helping in the recording of wildlife sightings.

She said: “Ben’s a really dedicated guy and his determination to break this world first is awe inspiring. It’s going to be a great adventure but also one full of unknowns and extreme exertion.

“We’re also going to be very isolated, as the route isn’t on a busy shipping lane. We’re hoping to get sponsorship for satellite minutes so that we can send weekly reports back to our sponsors and fundraisers.”

Esmé and Ben fly out to Africa at the end of September with a view to starting the swim in November.

In the meantime, Ben will be at Ramside Spa, Durham, for a charity questions and answers evening on August 19. Tickets are £5 from 0191 375 3088