A ten-year-old girl who has never swum in the sea in Britain is attempting to break an 84-year-old world record by being the youngest person to swim across the Firth of Forth.
Emma Hudson-Brookfield has been swimming since the age of four and has set her sights on becoming a world record holder while raising money for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC).
Starting off at Town Pier in North Queensferry, Emma and a support team will swim approximately 1.2 miles to reach Hawes Pier in South Queensferry on Sunday.
The current world record for being the youngest person to swim the stretch is held by Joseph Feeney who completed the swim at the age of 13 in 1933.
Emma will be joined by “Team Shebeen” founded by her father Ian Hudson, the co-owner of Shebeen Steakhouse and Braai as well as a four other swimmers and a support team.
“I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m a mixture of nerves and excitement about the swim,” the ten-year-old said.
“Luckily, my dad is my coach and he has completed two swims across the Forth before so he knows what he is doing.
“I have been training once a week and found building up lengths in the pool has helped as it has become easier each time. I have never been swimming outdoors in the UK, it has only ever been in the sea on holiday.
“I think the work of the charity is amazing so I really hope that by doing this swim that we can contribute in some way.”
Open-water safety expert and director of Vigour Events Robert Hamilton said the biggest challenge of open water swimming, particularly for children, is the exposure to cold.
“Swimmers need to build up tolerance to the cold water to allow them to complete long distance challenges – it’s not about how far you can swim but how long your body can stand being exposed to the cold water,” he said. “I encourage anyone to try open water swimming, it has amazing health benefits both physically and for mental health as well as a tremendous sense of self achievement, as long as all the safety considerations and training have been put in the place.”
After reading an article on ECHC and the vital work it does to support children, young people and their families, the team picked them to be the beneficiaries.
Vicki Watson, community fundraiser at ECHC, said: “We are so grateful to be Team Shebeen’s chosen charity for this incredible world record breaking attempt by Emma.
“Everyone at ECHC wishes the whole team the best of luck for this commendable swim across the Firth of Forth and that the tides play in their favour.
“The money raised will have a huge impact on the lives of young patients and their families and make a phenomenal difference during their time at hospital.”