Former footballer and TV pundit Graeme Souness has completed a 21-mile charity swim across the English Channel.
The 70-year-old has raised more than £1 million for Debra UK, a national charity supporting individuals and families affected by epidermolysis bullosa (EB).
EB is a rare condition that causes painful, blistering skin, and Souness said he was inspired to take on the challenge after spending time with a good friend, Isla Grist, 14, who is living with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa.
Joined by five friends, including Isla’s father Andy, the Scotland former professional footballer completed the challenging swim in 12 hours and 17 minutes on Sunday, according to Debra UK’s Twitter page.
“From the time I have spent with Isla and her family, I have seen first-hand the extreme pain this devastating condition causes and the daily challenges it creates,” Souness detailed on the fundraising page for the challenge.
“I wanted to do something that could make a difference to Isla’s life and to the lives of so many others living with EB, and the slightly crazy idea of swimming the English Channel was suggested.
“Now I’m not one to walk away from a challenge, but this is all new to me; despite living by the sea for the past 16 years, I’ve never been in it, and so this will certainly be the most difficult challenge I’ve ever taken on.
“I am determined to complete the swim, though.
“Alongside Isla’s dad, Andy, and the rest of the team, we will complete the challenge and in doing so raise awareness of EB and support to find the treatments that are so desperately needed.”
After spending most of his football career playing number 11, Souness set a target to raise £1.1 million for Debra UK.
Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is a form of EB, which causes the skin to become extremely fragile – often with extensive blistering and wounds.
To find out more on the challenge and Debra UK, visit Graeme Souness’ fundraising page