VIDEO - Bumper year for Topsham to Turf swim

Intrepid charity swimmers have braved the River Exe for the annual Topsham to Turf Swim.

Intrepid charity swimmers have braved the River Exe for the annual Topsham to Turf Swim.

Nearly 100 entrants took on the mile-and-a-half long route from the Topsham Ferryman’s slipway to Turf Lock, and all but one of them completed the course, supported by hundreds of cheering spectators on both sides of the river.

The ribbon to start the race was cut by Lord Mayor of Exeter, Stella Brock, who had to be out of the way quickly as 97 swimmers plunged into the water.

The first swimmer to the other side was 18-year-old Jack Purchall from Topsham, who went one better than his second place last year.

He was joined in the record books by the swim’s youngest ever finisher, 10-year-old Callum Budge, who completed the course with his dad.

The swim follows a traditional route, which was revived in 2005 by Topsham ferryman, Mike Stevens, who completed the first swim on his own, and has since seen it blossom into one of the town’s biggest events.

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It is now held every year to raise money for Topsham charity, the Estuary League of Friends.

With sponsorship money still flooding in, the charity is hoping the swim will have raised more than �6,300 overall, which will be used to help fund the charity’s minibus service.

Charity chief executive Rachel Gilpin said: “We had a brilliant turnout, with more swimmers than last year, and the swim is fast becoming a big fixture on the Topsham calendar, which is wonderful.

“We had a fantastic amount of volunteers, especially kayakers, and help from Topsham Sailing Club – we couldn’t do it without them.

“We also had huge support from local businesses, and we’d like to thank the Lord Mayor for starting the race in amongst all the people in wetsuits and silly hats!”

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