Ian Turner has been a member of Pagham Yacht club for a number of years and although he is disabled, he always has a smile so he is raising money for the Richard Desmond Children's Unit at Moorfields Eye Hospital it's called Sidneys Gift.
Sidney James Turner is his 8 year old grandson who suffers Nan's Hiram Syndrome which causes severe cataracts and blindness. Sidney has had nearly 25 operations and now has very poor eyesight.
Ian is 70 years old and suffers from Post Polio Syndrome which means he is in a wheelchair most of the time and also has a heart condition. On Monday 27th August 2018 he swam from the world war 2 Mulberry Harbour stranded about a mile of Pagham Beach Bognor Regis.
This man is an inspiration, please read his story below and see for yourself what a brave and selfless man he is.
Well after bad weather ,we made the decision to cancel the swim on Sunday but we decided to try and go the following day Bank Holiday Monday as the forecast was a bit betterwith winds dropped and sun was supposed to shine.
I arrived at the club around 9.30 am, ready for the big day. Carole, my wife, was following on with our son James and the man of the moment ,our Sidney whose gift we were raising money for.
I met with Brian (James) and Andy (Grout) to check the conditions and although not perfect we deceided to give it a go. We journeyed out to the Mulberry Harbour arriving around 12.15pm. My son, James, was in safety boat with Andy and Brian was on his rescue board. Then on my left towards Selsey giving me a bit of space was Glen Donaldson ,a very capable strong swimmer. I felt, with this team around me, I was in good hands.
When I went into the water, Andy told me if I was not happy at anytime I would be pulled out. Both Andy and Brian were professional and brilliant from start to finish and together with Glen, a very strong capable swimmer, I know success for Sidney's gift was going to succeed
The swim started slow after 30 minutes I had made very little progress and I could see some concern on my teams faces. I pushed on and slowly we made success and despite strong currents and choppy waters, progress was made. However I have to admit it was getting the better of me so I stopped and Brian gave me my glucose supplements and inhalers. We pushed on but I began to tire a lot which meant I took breaks by leaning on Brian's board and on a number of occasions, Glen held me up against the board. His support was such an important factor and he was always in sight. Brian kept guiding me and I could see as time went on he was getting concerned, I was getting slower and continued to get caught in the strong drift pulling me off course for the beach in front of the Yacht Club. It was so important to me that I ended up on the beach in front of the club where so many were waiting there in support. I knew my Carole would be watching and waiting in anticipation she has as always been my rock. I slowly felt beaten and Brian told me I had more than done the distant but although I thought of giving up at that stage it was never an option.
I was repeatedly being pulled of course by the current and Brian pulled me back to the board. Andy was fighting the current and pulled us back on line for the yacht club. I remember saying, don't take me into towards the beach and I know they didn't, after so much support I wanted everyone to see I did what I set out to do. I then came within reach of the large orange sailing club buoy and I knew the finish was within reach. I was now exhausted and more glucose was passed down from my minder, Brian ,suddenly the shore line was there and for the first time I knew I could finish. I finally felt the stones beneath and several people came out and pulled me in. I was home I don't remember much at that stage I felt exhausted and cold but they got me back up the beach where I remember there of course was Carole relieved at last . I must be honest I found the two and a half hours in the water has taken its strain and I have found this week very tiring but Sidney's Gift looks to have reached £3000, The auction and raffle brought in a staggering £580. How wonderful all of you are and a big thank you to all those who contributed and Mick Trenchard's skills as auctioneer were fantastic.
The day was complemented by a wonderful buffet put on for me by Sue and Keri and what a display they provided for me.
I have so many of you to thank but I know you will not mind, if I again mention the expertise and support from Andy and my son James in the safety boat and to Glen in the water. His and their presence, gave me so much feeling of safety and of course Brian on the safety board. You never left me and your support was fantastic. I will never forget what you all did for me but most importantly for SIDNEYS GIFT.