Ned Barnie (GB) and Toufic Bleik (Lebanon) about to start the race

Ned Barnie (GB) and Toufic Bleik (Lebanon)

Cap-Gris-Nez. Pas-de-Calais. Just before the start of the 1954 Billy Butlin Cross Channel Race. Ned Barnie of Great Britain and Tuofic Bleik of Lebanon greasing up for the race.

Ned Barnie was the first Scotsman to swim the Channel in 1950. Time 14hrs 45mins; this swim was in the Daily Mail Race. He was the first man to swim it in both directions in 1951. The first swim was England to France, 19hrs 02mins. The second was in the Daily Mail swim in 15hrs 01mins. He made 6 unsuccessful attempts between 1952 to 1956.

Toufic Bleik of the Lebanon, in his success of 1953 Bleik set off from Cap Gris-Nez in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday Aug 3 1953. He landed at St Margaret’s Bay shortly before 6.00 pm. His time was 16 hrs 05 min. He swam into a thick patch of oil discharged from a tanker and had some difficulty with his goggles. He had three unsuccessful attempts: 25/07/1953. (12 hours) and also in the 1954 Butlins race he swam for 16hrs, and in 1955 Butlins he swam 3hrs 53mins.

From the Sam Rockett collection.

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