AN ENDURANCE athlete attempting to swim the whole way across the Britain’s south coast was given a welcome boost by a Royal Navy warship.
HMS Hurworth, one of the Royal Navy’s minehunters based in Portsmouth, met up with Lewis Pugh – the UN Patron of the Oceans – while on his Long Swim challenge off the coast of Eastbourne.
Lewis – an endurance swimmer and ocean advocate – is working towards completing a mammoth 329-mile swim from Cornwall to Dover as part of the worldwide Action for Oceans campaign.
Lewis, himself the son of a Royal Navy Surgeon Admiral, set himself the challenge in order to raise awareness of the impact of pollution on our ocean’s ecosystems.
HMS Hurworth, which was fresh from escorting Russian warship Admiral Makarov through the English Channel, arrived as Lewis finished the latest leg of his endeavour in Rye Bay, near Eastbourne.
After a quick swim alongside the ship - much to the delight of the crew - Lewis had a ride in the seaboat and was welcomed on board for a well-earned hot shower and freshen up.
Spending time touring the ship, he was introduced to the crew, who are nicknamed ‘The Fighting Aces’ and shown around the vessel.
Lewis said: ‘I would like to thank the Royal Navy on behalf of the United Nations for the important role they undertake in the world. Especially their commitment in ensuring sea routes are kept open and safe, providing humanitarian aid, fishery protection and in particular the environmental protection work they undertake in the southern oceans.’
Lieutenant Commander Mark Heward, Hurworth’s commanding officer, said: ‘Lewis is obviously a great advocate of the sea and a strong supporter of the Royal Navy’s operations across the world. It is always sad to see the impact of human pollution on the maritime environment.”
‘I was humbled to meet a man who is using his strength, determination and bravery in such a way to raise awareness of the important issues facing our maritime environment.”
Lewis added: ‘Meeting with HMS Hurworth has given me a huge boost to finish my swim.’