James Whittaker

Whittaker completes gruelling canal swim

Despite the severe weather that lashed Britain over the weekend, James Whittaker, development director of Peel Holdings, finished his incredible two-day, 36-mile swim of the Manchester Ship Canal safely on Saturday evening.

Persistent rain on both Friday and Saturday caused the canal temperature to drop and Whittaker was forced to raise his stroke rate to over 60 strokes a minute to maintain his core body temperature and avoid hypothermia.

Boat trips of business dignitaries on the first day and friends and family on the second accompanied Whittaker, providing moral and vocal support along the way.

One group of friends braved the 18 or so pubs along the banks of the canal in their own endurance crawl.

Whittaker was raising money for the New Children's Hospital Appeal in Manchester, and has set himself a target of £250,000 when all the pledges are collected.

Peel owner John Whittaker told the business guests on Friday that his son was a very determined man who enjoyed survival trips for holidays and was sometimes in danger of carrying on even if it was at the detriment to his health.

Peel has so far given £1.3m to the hospital appeal and will be making a further donation for James's swim.

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