Paralympic gold medalist to start teen’s distance swim

A DISABLED teen is to swim the equivalent of the English Channel to raise money for Cerebral Palsy Sport.

Worksop-based James Birchnall has been swimming with the charity for the past seven years and will begin his 35.8km challenge on Sunday.

Paralympic gold medallist Liz Johnson will also be in attendance to start the 15-year-old’s distance swim at Nottingham University swimming pool.

James who, like Liz, has cerebral palsy, said he was delighted the Paralympian was starting the challenge with him.

The teenager said: “Liz is an inspiration to cerebral palsy swimmers and I’m so pleased that she is available to get this event off to a great start.”

To complete the task, James is set to swim 1,432 lengths of the 25-metre pool over the course of one week.

Other Paralympic cerebral palsy swimmers will also be there on the day, as it coincides with Cerebral Palsy Sport’s National Swimming Championships.

The annual event sees 45 swimmers competing, from young swimmers through to elite athletes.

Cerebral Palsy Sport’s fundraising manager Caroline Dolan said James’ challenge was ‘awe inspiring’.

“Every penny James raises will make a difference to our work and enable us to reach more people with cerebral palsy,” she said.

Caroline added the charity relies on the voluntary contributions to fund its life changing work.

To sponsor James on his quest, please visit