A CHARITY fundraiser is doing a 28-mile swim around Manhattan Island in New York.

Graham Walton, 45, from Shotley Bridge, near Consett, is going to the United States to take part in The 20 Bridges challenge on August 25.

He is hoping to raise as much money as possible for the blood cancer charity Bright Red, which is based at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle.

The swim starts and finishes at pier A on the southern tip of the island and involves swimming up the East River, Harlem River and returning down the Hudson.

Mr Walton said: “Although tidal flow could help me on this swim it could also work against me if my timing isn’t right.

“If I get to the Hudson too early I will be swimming against the tide, as well as the prevailing southerly wind, as I start the second half of the swim.

“Too late and the attempt will probably be over as the tide turns and pushes me back down the river.”

Mr Walton will not be wearing a wetsuit and is not allowed to touch the support boat or anything else between the start and the finish of the swim.

He added: “In order to get myself prepared for this swim I have sacrificed most of my free time, swimming around 100km per month for the last year.”

The electrician, who will be joined in the Big Apple by his wife Lisa, and his 16-year-old son, Nathan, is raising money for Bright Red’s Lee Robson Patient Grant Scheme.

Mr Robson, an outdoor activities co-ordinator at Consett YMCA, was a patron for the charity and set up the scheme before his death from leukaemia in summer 2013.

Mr Walton, who raised more than £5,500 for the scheme by swimming across the English Channel two years ago, said: “The grants ease financial worries for blood cancer patients at a time when they need it most.

“The sacrifices I have made and pain I have put myself through will be worth it if it helps people to have one less worry in their hour of need.

“The swim is self-funded so every penny raised will go straight to this excellent charity.

“Hopefully, there will be less jellyfish than the channel and although they have been spotted in these waters and I don’t really want the company of any great whites along the way.”

Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/graham-walton3 to sponsor.