Sunrise swim sees Sunderland dad finish his 100k swim in 100 day challenge as his fund tops £12,000 for soup kitchen

When Leroy Arkley set out on his North Sea lockdown challenge to swim 100k in 100 days through winter, he hoped to raise £1,000.

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 11:08 am

The project manager, dad to Oscar, 18, and Robyn, 15, and his fellow outdoor swimming pals have braved air temperatures as cold as -2C and swam through snow and hail since it launched on Saturday, November 28.

Today, Saturday, March 6, at 6.30am, he and a small group headed out to mark his 100th day, watching sunrise from the water as they swam between the piers at Roker.

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Photos shared with the Echo by John Alderson as he followed one of Leroy Arkley's sea swims at Roker.
Photos shared with the Echo by John Alderson as he followed one of Leroy Arkley's sea swims at Roker.

In addition to smashing his target, he has also completed more than 118k in distance, with visits to Seaham and Cullercoats as he sought out safe conditions.

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Throughout the challenge he has been supported by wife Donna, 43, a partner in the Bou-chique store in Mackie’s Corner, while Sue’s Cafe on Marine Walk has kept him fed and in hot drinks after swimming – all completed in just his trunks.

A shot from the 100 day challenge swim SCSK Facebook page, as Leroy Arkley was accompanied by a group of fellow sea swimmers on one of his 100 dips.

"I think the big thing for me has been the generosity of people who have donated, because when I started out, I thought I might get £1,000,” said Leroy, a member of the Roker Bathing Club.

"The other thing is the support from fellow swimmers, because it’s happened to be the grimmest winter for a long time, I might have chosen another year and the weather has been awful at times, but there’s always been at least two or three swimmers in the group who have said ‘we’ll come with you’ and that in itself has been amazing.

"I feel like I’ve gone some way to do something to contribute to others less fortunate than me and to see the work they do down at the soup kitchen now, to be able to help Andrea Bell and the team and the work they’re doing makes me really happy.”

Leroy Arkley and his fellow sea swimmers faced bitter conditions during the challenge.

Donations can be made via the 100km in 100 Days Swim Challenge GoFundMe page and his story can be followed through @100daychallengeswimscsk on Instagram.

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Leroy Arkley pictured as he headed out on one of his 1,000 metre swims.