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Football Correspondent Takes The Plunge

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter swam across the Tyne on Sunday to raise fund for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter swam across the Tyne on Sunday to honour a bet, and raised more than £750 for cancer charity the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in the process.

In December 2010, following Alan Pardew's arrival in the North-East, Winter promised to swim the river if the Club committed long-term to their new manager.

And when Pardew signed a new eight-year contract last month, Winter immediately agreed to fulfil his wager and take the plunge.

In glorious sunshine, he swam from Newcastle City Marina to the pontoon at Royal Naval Reserve training unit HMS Calliope on the Gateshead bank. As he emerged from the cold river he was greeted with a Newcastle United towel courtesy of the Club and a letter of congratulations from Pardew.

"I'm fresh and frozen, it was cold," said Winter.

"The first two thirds were a doddle and I thought 'this is ok, a nice gentle paddle across the Tyne'. But then suddenly the current hit and it was like the fast lane of the motorway.

"I could actually feel myself being dragged along and I was fortunate to have an experienced swimmer alongside me in Tony Greener. In fact, at one point I think I grabbed Tony's toe.

"It's really been fun. The reaction to my daft bet and this swim shows what a football-mad city this is.

"Everyone has rallied round to help and that's a sign of the depth of feeling for Sir Bobby and the great work funded through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

"I have my own fond memories of Sir Bobby. He was simply one of the greatest managers this country has produced and great man.

"And I thought it was a class act of Alan Pardew to send me a congratulatory note and a club towel. He was obviously confident I'd make it because he sent it to the Gateshead side of the river."

Winter was ably supported by experienced swimmer Tony Greener from North Shields, organiser of the annual Tyne 10 Mile River Swim and, after his chilly dip, headed off to more familiar surroundings to cover Newcastle United's Premier League fixture against Manchester United.

The Tyne is a dangerous tidal river and Henry's swim was made only possible thanks to wonderful support from the Royal Naval Reserve training unit HMS Calliope, NE1 Ltd and Port of Tyne.

Andrew Moffat, chief executive officer for the Port of Tyne, says: "This unusual event is for a very good cause and we were happy to assist with appropriate safety cover to ensure it all went well.

"We would never encourage people to swim in the river without permission and supervision on hand, which of course the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has ensured is in place.

"The Port of Tyne is very proud to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation so when we were asked to help make this swim happen today in aid of the Foundation we were delighted to assist."

Adrian Waddell, NE1 Ltd director of operations, added: "'We're delighted that Newcastle City Marina has been able to help with Henry's Tyne swimming debut and wish him and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation the very best of luck."

To donate and support Winter, please visit www.justgiving.com/TyneSwim.