River swim from Kelso to Berwick raises £6,000

Charity swimmers Alistair Smee (left) and John Edey after successfully swimming from Kelso to Berwick lifeboat station
Charity swimmers Alistair Smee (left) and John Edey after successfully swimming from Kelso to Berwick lifeboat station

IT took the best part of the summer to complete, but two determined swimmers swam from Kelso to Berwick to raise over £6,000 for soldiers.

Ghillie John Edey and fisherman Alistair Smee starting their 35-mile mission on June 16.

Sprouston’s Mr Edey said: “Day one was hampered with heavy rain and energy-sapping cold river temperatures. We made it to Tillmouth, then the floods came and we postponed the final day three times until we got a weather window and low water.”

The swimmers watched the weather each weekend to try to finish their fundraiser until, finally, Sunday August 12 looked fair.

But a wind got up and as they progressed it was against the incoming tide, creating choppy waves.

Mr Edey said: “The final day was a hard push, battling against three to four-foot waves when we hit the wind and tide. We reached Berwick road bridge where the RNLI lifeboat escorted us the last mile and we were welcomed by a cheering crowd.”

He and Mr Smee had hoped to raise £5,000 but instead have gathered in £6,607 for Help for Heroes.

The challenging swim came about because Mr Edey, a ghillie for more than 30 years, was so inspired by the servicemen severely injured in the war in Afghanistan that he took fishing last year, that he wanted to raise money to help them and others.