Cirencester man swims English Channel for Steps Charity Worldwide

A Cirencester man has swam the English Channel to raise money for a charity that has supported his daughter.

Kieran Smyth battled cold water, strong tides and even jellyfish to complete the crossing in 15 hours and 52 minutes.

In doing so, he has raised more than £4,000 for Steps Charity Worldwide – who support children with lower limb conditions.

Kieran’s youngest daughter Violet was diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips (DDH) in 2013.

A software test manager by trade, Kieran is also a volunteer teacher at Cirencester Swimming Club and trained at Lake 32 and Lake 86 at Cotswold Water Park.

He was due to complete the 32km swim in 2020 but is was postponed due to the pandemic.

“It really was a truly epic day, but very tough at times,” said Kieran.

“Despite good conditions it became tougher as we got close to the French coast where the waters became choppy, and I had to really battle the currents.

“No easy feat after having already been swimming for 10 plus hours, having suffered numerous jellyfish stings and been sick too.

“I really had to dig deep mentally at times, but the encouragement from my crew on the boat and knowing that every penny I raise is going to a great cause, makes it all worthwhile.”

Violet’s treatment for DDH, a condition where the ‘ball and socket’ joint of the hip does not properly form, included an operation, 12 weeks in a hip spica cast, and another 12 weeks wearing a brace once the cast was removed.

“At the time, we found Steps to be an excellent source of information, advice and assistance, helping us understand Violet’s condition as well as preparing us for what was going to happen,” Kieran added.

“The specific advice we received when calling their helpline was excellent and their sterling work continues to help people all over the world who are in a similar situation today.”

Loredana Guetg-Wyatt, managing director of Steps, said: “It’s down to the incredible generosity of our fundraisers that we are able to support so many families and carers.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Kieran for helping us raise awareness of the work Steps does in the UK and overseas.”

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