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Walton schoolboy from Kingston honours friend with Channel swim
A schoolboy will take the plunge to raise money for a teenage cancer ward that looked after a classmate.
Will Baker, 17, will take on the ice cold waters when he takes on the Channel in an 18-hour swim to France.
The daring Reeds School pupil, who lives in Kingston, recently got his A/S-level results, but will put himself through an even sterner test next month.
Mr Baker said: “I am probably most fearing my head. My body is fine and ready. It is the mental strength to keep going that I am scared of the most.
“I feel confident though. My coach has pushed me outside my comfort zone. I am nervous but I have not thought about failing. It is not an option.
“If the time is shorter than 18 hours I will be grateful.”
The teenager, who has been training for nine months, hopes to raise £5,000 for the teenage cancer unit at the Royal Surrey County Hospital’s Hascombe ward.
He said: “There was a girl in my class that passed away with bone marrow cancer. She left a plan of things that would make it a bit better for people in the ward. I am doing this for her and the ward.”
Money raised will be put towards buying flat screen televisions for patients and hide-away mirrors for every bathroom in the ward.
A keen swimmer from a young age, Mr Baker has been swimming for six days a week with more than four hours doing lengths at the Hampton Pool and up to six hours in the sea in Brighton when he can.
His mother Rachel Baker said: “I don’t know whether it’s worse being the parent of somebody going to do the swim or actually being the person doing it.
“I am going to be there cheering him on all the way.”
Mr Baker’s family will follow him on a boat. He will not be able to come out of the water and all food will be thrown in a flask attached to a string.
To donate to the 22-mile swim, starting September 7, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/WillBaker.