On the morning of February 4th 2011, David Walliams announced that he will be
undergoing his next big challenge in aid of Sport Relief.
David Walliams is to swim 140 miles - along the length of the London
River Thames. In comparison, David swam the
English Channel in 2006 for Sport
Relief, which was 22 miles, plus, a 14-mile
Straight of Gibraltar swim.
David revealed the mammoth journey as he spoke to Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2.
"The river is around 215 miles long although it is not possible to swim the
entire length of the route."
He joked: "You've got to walk the first part or run or jog - that's
probably what I'll do, I'll jog. I'll jog when the cameras are on me and when
they're off me I'll start walking."
Environmental campaigner Lewis Pugh completed the trip in 2006, but his start
began with a 19-mile run because the river was barely a trickle. He completed
the journey in 21 days.
On July 16th 2011, Walliams' trainer, Professor Greg Whyte, confirmed the challenge had
got the go ahead: "It's official: The Thames swim is on for David Walliams.
Launch in style he [David] finished 13th at today's Marlow Swim: Awesome."
On August 17th 2011, Greg Whyte and David Walliams arrived at "swim camp" in
France, where they both went through vigorous training; "11km, 3hours 45min - 1
hour recovery including lunch and we are back in for a 7km - no rest for the
wicked!" followed by a second day of training; "Swim session 2 complete, 5 hours
done, 2 hours to go."
On the morning of September 5th 2011, David Walliams and the support team
began the epic challenge.
David swam from Lechlade in Gloucestershire to Westminster in London.
Walliams passed through several major towns en route, including Oxford,
Reading, Henley, Maidenhead, Windsor, Kingston and Richmond.
On September 12th 2011 at 6.20pm, David Walliams arrived at Westminster,
London. He was greeted by thousands of supporters, the media and some well-known
faces, including friend Barbara Windsor, his wife, Lara Stone, and his mother,
coverage was shown on BBC News, ITV News and Sky News for the nation to
see such an incredible achievement.
Not only did David swim 140 miles of the Thames in just eight days, he did it
in unusually cold, windy and rainy conditions, enduring a serious stomach upset
and severe exhaustion en route. He even found time to rescue a drowning
All in all, it was a truly stunning feat, it’s your amazing support that kept
him going and it’s not too late to sponsor him. Your money really will help to
At the end of the eight day swim, David had raised an astonishing
£1,194,258 for Sport Relief.
Total number of strokes: 111,118 / Total calories burnt: 68,044
The entire journey has been filmed for a documentary, which is to be shown on
BBC1 at 9pm on 8th March 2012.
Professor Greg Whyte: "I love www.littlebritainfans.com. As a close
friend of David Walliams and having trained him for his English Channel and
Gibraltar Straits crossing and the million pound cycle ride, the website keeps
you up to date with news events and pictures: www.littlebritainfans.com is a
must for your favourites bar. Keep watching for this years big challenge. Greg"
Sport Relief: "Thanks so much for your support, we
really do appreciate it!"
Click the images below to expand - Images
copyright to their right owners.
TV personality and Sport Relief Hero, David
Walliams beamed with
pride as he scooped a National Television Award last night. The award was given
in recognition of his enormous achievement in swimming the length of the Thames
to raise cash for Sport Relief last autumn.
Presented with the award by
Dermot O’Leary, an
overwhelmed David struggled to speak over the roaring crowd at the 02
centre in London, where
they whole audience erupted into rapturous applause and gave him a
Eventually, David was able to say,‘‘It was the best and
worst week of my life. The worst because I had to swim 140 miles and the best
because all of you came out to support me and most importantly donated your
money to Sport Relief.’
He then joked, ‘I’ve got a bit of an exclusive now though
because I was talking to Alan Carr and he said he’s going to do it this year in
The BT Sport Relief Challenge:
Walliams Vs The Thames
saw the 40 year old comedy actor complete the most physically
gruelling challenge of
his life. It even left him with a serious medical condition called
infection of the small intestine, which took weeks to shake off.
Throughout the eight day ordeal, as David front crawled his
way through 140 miles of sewage filled water, he faced the serious risk of
hypothermia, dehydration and suffered a serious bout of ‘Thames Tummy’, which
nearly threatened to end the challenge three days in.
ploughed on through and even managed to save a Labrador puppy called
Vinnie along the way.
David was cheered on by thousands of members of the public,
who came out in force to line the river bank as he swam, as well as many
celebrity supporters including Jimmy Carr, Miranda Hart and Rob
The TV funny man powered through 107,062 strokes, burned
65574 calories, and suffered eight long days of pain before finally making it to
The National Television Award was given to David in
acknowledgment of his incredible effort to raise much-needed cash and change