Sunderland dad sets out on 100 day 100k sea swimming challenge for soup kitchen cause

A Sunderland dad has launched a 100k sea swim over 100 days to help keep the city from going hungry.

Sunday, 6th December 2020, 7:00 am

Leroy Arkley began his challenge on Saturday, November 28, as he and supporters set out from Roker’s Cat and Dog Steps.

The 47-year-old, from East Herrington, will swim 1k a day up until Sunday, March 7, in aid of Sunderland Soup Kitchen – with more than £1,000 raised so far.

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Leroy Arkley will aim to complete 100k in the sea up until Sunday, March 7.

He decided to support it after his wife Donna and her business partner Helen Collinson, who run Bouchique on Mackie’s Corner, got involved by making a donation each time a customer bought a coat.

Wearing just trunks, googles and a cap as the sea temperature drops to 5C, he will swim at Roker, Seaburn or Seaham at 7.30am on weekdays and through weekend group swims.

Roker Bathing Club and Seaburn Swimmers will join in, while Sue’s Cafe will keep him in hot drinks.

Leroy, who is dad to Oscar, 17, and Robyn, 15, said: “It gives you a high and an adrenaline kick and you always feel a better person after a swim.

Leroy Arkley's son Oscar and his friend Ralph Archer joined him on the first day of his challenge.

"It’ll be tough, but I’ve got a lot of support and when I’ve spoken to Andrea from the Soup Kitchen, she’s explained what people are dealing with and all the good work they do.

"It’s going to be hard for me for 20 minutes a day, but for others, they have it tough all the time.”

Andrea Bell, who runs the soup kitchen, said: “He’s absolutely bonkers for doing this, but it means so much to us.

Leroy Arkley with Andrea Bell, of Sunderland Soup Kitchen, as she was on hand to support him as he began his challenge.

"The support we’ve had from Donna has been so good, he understands the hunger poverty, is onboard with our ethics and knows it’s all done by volunteers.

"He has said he wants to support people in his city and wants to make sure there is a solution for them.”

Roker Bathing Club founder Nick Matthews, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Sunderland Royal, added: “What he is going to do is to be commended and getting into the sea, especially in January, February and March, I think it’s going to be a great thing for a cause here in Sunderland.”

Leroy Arkley was joined by other swimmers as they set out on the first of his 100 days of sea swimming.

The challenge can be followed on Instagram via @100daychallengeswimscsk andsponsored through the 100km in 100 Days Swim Challenge Go Fund Me page.

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A launch event was held at a the Cat and Dog Steps as Leroy Arkley and other swimmers set out on the first day of his challenge.