Christopher in channel swim for friend Stephen

Christopher Judge.
Christopher Judge.

A Portadown council worker will be braving what is acknowledged to be the coldest and most difficult channel to swim in the world, in memory of his late friend.

Christopher Judge, a groundsman at Edenvilla Park, will be undertaking the North Channel challenge in September to raise funds for the Stephen Lyness Foundation,

Stephen died 12 years ago from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) on the morning of his 18th birthday.

Christopher is currently undertaking an intense training regime in preparation for the 25-mile, non-stop swim from Donaghadee to Portpatrick in Scotland.

The swim will take 15 hours in temperatures of just 12 degrees, with the threat of lion’s mane jellyfish never far away.

He will be accompanied by a boat crew - to ensure his safety - but will not be allowed to touch the boat at any time and warm feeds will be sent to him on a string every hour while he treads water.

Waves swimming pool in Lurgan is where Christopher does his high intensity training and he spends hours each weekday clocking up the miles before and after work.

Then each Saturday he does ‘ice swims’ in Lough Neagh to acclimatise his body to the cold water.

“I have to admit I am really nervous and as well as training my body I also need to train my mind to take this on and complete it,” said Christopher.

“Special mention to my lifelong coach Dorothy Johnston who will be on the boat as part of my motivational team – she runs her own swim camp in Waves Leisure Centre and keeps me going.”

To donate to Christopher’s swim log on to