V When Warren Phelops started swimming regularly in Hampstead pond last summer, it was more for enjoyment than endurance. But then competitive spirit took over as he and his friends challenged one another to see who could maintain the regime the longest.
The 51-year-old came up trumps, swimming every day in increasingly icy water until Christmas, raising more than £500 in sponsorship for Norwood. He now looks forward to representing Team GB at the Winter Swimming Games in Estonia in March.
“Since a rugby injury in 2002 when I was nearly paralysed, I’ve been limited in sports I can pursue,” Mr Phelops said. “But I’ve been active in sporting challenges including cycling, where I completed the Etape du Tour [one of the hardest stages of the Tour de France] for charity with my friend [and Norwood fundraiser] Ashley Fulton.
“The ultimate goal was to get to Christmas Day, which I achieved. But I’ve already been back in since the New Year.
“It’s not something you can take lightly as you can easily end up with hypothermia,” he added. “Despite my experience, I had one very worrying incident in the water in November. You really have to respect the conditions.”