‘Old lifeguards’ in River Mersey record swim in aid of New Brighton lifeboat station

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Tony Clare and Tony Jones We’ve Made It’ approaching shore at New Brighton after completing first recorded swim of R. Mersey from Crosby (Credit Bob Warwick)

Date: 27/08/2011

Author: Bob Warwick, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer

A 36 year dream was realised with the first recorded swim across the River Mersey from Crosby to New Brighton on Friday 26th August by Tony Jones and Tony Clare both ex-RNLI New Brighton lifeboat crewmen with over 60 years service between them.

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Friends since 1970 – 59 year old Tony Jones is Wirral’s Beach Lifeguard Service Manager and also the Lifeboat Sea Safety Officer for the RNLI New Brighton lifeboat station. Tony Clare at age 60 is a full time employee of RNLI as their Divisional Sea Safety Manager for the North and is currently a nominee to carry the Olympic Torch.

The motivation to do the swim came from a desire to support the RNLI New Brighton lifeboat station £50,000 appeal for crew training and equipment and they hope to raise over £750 towards this with £500 having been promised all ready.

Tony Jones said ‘ Since 1974 Tony Clare and myself have talked about doing this swim as we have not found any evidence either written or rhetorical of it having been done before. Finally we decided to do it on my 59th birthday on the 27th August. However due to an adverse weather forecast we went a few hours early as there was a slight window of opportunity but with the added complication of a large ship arrival and the sailing of the liner ‘Arcadia’ – timing was critical. The swim went really well and it took me 1hr 15 mins. The downside was being hit by cramp a few yards from the beach at New Brighton but I struggled on’.

Tony Clare said ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the swim except for a jellyfish sting, we had a great support team with us from the local lifeguards with jetski and support boat. Considerable planning has gone in to this venture, as it was vital that we got the timing right it was definitely not something to do lightly or on a whim. It was a bit windy and sea conditions were a bit rough but the water was reasonably warm and it was great to see the ‘Arcadia’ sailing by. I am thrilled to have completed this in my 60th year and for such a great cause’.

If anyone would like to make a donation and help them reach their target go on line to their Old Lifeguards Rule’s page on the Virgin Money Giving website or click on:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/oldlifeguardsrule

Alternatively phone Tony Jones on 07850 911288 and arrange for donation by traditional means.

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