Some people inspire us at Gallery – Steve Hayes is one such fellow… Having decided to dive into a 24 hour swim for Teenage Cancer Trust, and training to swim the English Channel to raise more money for his chosen charity, Steve is just getting started…

Here’s what he had to say to Gallery:

Is this the first time you’ve done anything like this?
Yeah, I basically signed up to swim the English Channel, from Dover to Callais – I’m doing that in September and I’ve been training for that for about nine months now. I was swimming for about 6 hours in Quennevais pool and wracking my brains as to how I could raise more money for TCT, I set out with the hope of raising £2000 and so far (with various fund raisers) I’ve managed to raise about £1600… it’s plateaued out a bit now, so I thought I’d try a 24 hour swim, swimming a mile every hour on the hour at Harve des Pas pool. I’m starting at about 5:45pm on Saturday 4th August and finishing at about 6pm Sunday 5th August…

Are you a bit of an Action Man in general?
Ha, yeah I guess, over the last few years. Up until about three years ago I loved a drink, I was a heavy smoker and basically I used to party all the time! Then I got told to pack in the drinking as my liver was taking a bit of a beating, (*he says as we share a cold glass of Sauvignon, in the sun at our interview! Big laughs follow!)… and I packed in the ciggies. So, anyway I ran a marathon (*said as though it’s the most normal thing to do after quitting the smoking and excessive drinking!), to focus on not smoking or drinking or partying and then wondered what else I could do to keep out of trouble!

You must have had some had some sort of fitness regime before that though? A marathon is pretty heavy duty…
No, nothing at all since school! I’d probably gone about twelve years without doing any exercise at all… I think a lot of it coincides with when my first child was born… So I did the marathon and then twelve months later I started trying out for Iron Man Triathlons, two and a half mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and then a marathon. So I’ve done three marathons, one ultra marathon and two Iron Man Triathlons… and now I’ve started doing this…

 

You definitely qualify as an Action Man! All within three years, after being a smoking, drinking party man! Can you tell us what made you choose Teenage Cancer Trust?
I just really commend what the charity does. Being a teenager is hard enough, but to be suffering from Cancer and struggling through those difficult years as an adolescent, I truly believe in the effort to try and bring as much comfort and sense of normality to their lives. I hadn’t realized before recently that local teenagers had to travel and stay in Southampton for treatment – that must be so hard, being away from friends and family…

What message would you like to send out to Gallery readers?
I just need support really. Anything, from turning up and cheering me on, to sponsoring me and donating money to TCT… Feel free to give to: www.teenagecancertrust.org/get-involved/as-a-fundraiser/fundraisers/steves-channel-swim/ OR go to http://www.teenagecancertrust.org/get-involved/as-a-fundraiser/fundraisers/steves-channel-swim/

So, once upon a time, there was a man who loved to party… Then he took action and cleaned himself up, donned a pair of speedos and hit the water for charity. Actions definitely do speak louder than words. As quoted by Oscar Wilde, “The one person who has more illusions than the dreamer is the man of action”.