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Sunday 22 April 2018

It’s no joke: Comedian Walliams nears end of Thames charity swim

Comedian David Walliams
Comedian David Walliams

Margaret Davis

Comedian David Walliams today entered the final day of his epic swim along 140 miles of the Thames.

The Little Britain star has been cheered on by fans and famous friends all along the route, and as of yesterday had raised more than £800,000 for Sport Relief.

He battled a bout of "Thames Tummy", a painful rash where his wetsuit rubbed and aching muscles as he ploughed through the water.

Today the performer will end his gruelling journey in the Westminster area of central London.

Walliams had inoculations and was given a precautionary course of antibiotics in order to brave the Thames, part of which has had 500,000 cubic metres of sewage poured into it in the past week.

He has been supported by wife Lara Stone, who travelled in a support boat, and was met along the way by celebrity friends including comics Jimmy Carr, Miranda Hart and Rob Brydon.

Today Walliams will tackle arguably the toughest stretch of the Thames when it becomes tidal, with strong currents and undertows and busy river traffic.

The 40-year-old said yesterday: "The two things that have really kept me going so far are the updates of the fundraising totals I'm given and the stunning support I've been given by the public. There must have been tens of thousands of people along the route and I can hear their cheers as I'm swimming.

"I never expected this to catch the public's imagination like it has - there seems to have been a real carnival atmosphere around it which is lovely."

He said today "will see me entering the tidal stretch of the Thames with all the dangers that brings, so I'll need to be strong".

Walliams even took time out of his relentless swim to rescue a pet Labrador that was struggling to get out of the river near Cookham Lock in Berkshire on Saturday.

Supporters can sponsor the performer at www.sportrelief.com/walliams.

There is also a GPS tracker on the Sport Relief website showing where he is, and a regularly updated Twitter feed.

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