Two-time conqueror of the English Channel Cyril Baldock to speak at Port Stephens Men of League charity day

A two-time conqueror of the English Channel and longtime visitor to Port Stephens will be special guest at the next Men of League fundraiser.

Seventy-four year old Cyril Baldock, from Sydney’s Bondi, will join another Port favourite, John ‘Bomber’ Peard, at the dais as part of a charity bowls day at the Nelson Bay Bowling Club on Sunday, September 23.

Baldock, who is most renowned for swimming the English Channel – 35km between England and France of unpredictable, often freezing cold conditions – just shy of 30 years apart, said he was looking for re-acquainting himself with his many Bay friends.

“I have always considered myself a Bondi boy but Nelson Bay is like a second home to me,” Baldock said.

“I started holidaying in the Bay from age six, I own property there and I just think it’s a great place for endurance type events and training.

“There are some terrific bush trails and cycling tracks. I remember taking part in one of the very first aquathons starting at Soldiers Point and running 5km to Nelson Bay for an 800m swim. 

“And just couple of months ago I was at One Mile Beach for the Port Stephens Triathlon.”

A life member of the iconic Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club, Baldock became only the fifth Australian to complete the English Channel in 1985 under the tutelage of the legendary Des Renford.

“I was 41 and Des was 58 and at that time the oldest swimmer to conquer the channel was aged 60,” he said. 

“Des had intended to beat the record after he turned 60 but unfortunately he had a heart attack, so I made a commitment to him that I would attempt the record when the time was right.

“Well the record age continued to climb until four years ago when I had turned 70 years, nine months and 12 days.”

True to his word, in 2014 Baldock completed the amazing feat to become the world’s oldest English Channel swimmer in the remarkably good time of 12hrs 45secs.

That record has since been broken but Baldock is not beaten yet. 

“I am toying with the idea of giving it a nudge,” he said.

Baldock and Peard will entertain the crowd at the Men of League bowls day starting at 9.30am. Tickets are $20 a head. Bookings can be made at the club on (02) 4981 1272.

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