Radio and TV host Tommy Little has opened up about his failed attempt to swim between the UK and Belgium, admitting he feels like “a fraud”.
Tommy Little has opened up about his failed attempt to swim from the United Kingdom to Belgium for charity, admitting he feels like “a bit of a fraud”.
the project host and radio presenter is currently in London after his high-profile swim to raise money for a spinal cord charity was abruptly cut short by French authorities.
Little, 37, and his team were forced to cancel the swim and turn back when officers threatened to intercept their boat after he’d completed 53 kilometers of the 96-kilometre journey.
speaking on The Project last night, he admitted he was “shattered”.
“I’m shattered and I’m embarrassed, I’ve been talking about this swim for about six months now. A lot of people donated money which is going to a great cause, and we didn’t finish,” he said, before jokingly adding: “And if you don’t think it’s embarrassing, have a look at this: we even got world record T-shirts with our names on them, and where are we gonna wear them?”
The comedian then explained exactly what had gone wrong during the world-first attempt.
“We were trying to do the first-ever swim from the UK to Belgium, and we’d been given approval for the route we were going on. And on the day we were in French waters, they decided it was getting too dangerous – us being in the international shipping lane and swimming – despite that being something that was obviously talked about,” he told the panel.
“So they pulled the pin and told us we needed to get out, and if we didn’t, they’d intercept our boat… And there’d be a court case, there’d be huge ends, our skipper would probably lose his job.”
It was a devastating twist after months of training and fundraising for the TV star, who admitted to co-host Carrie Bickmore and fill-in host Peter Helliar on the Hit Network’s Carrie and Tommy Show on Monday that he was “still devastated”.
“Talking about something heaps is great because it makes you do it,” he said.
“But it’s also very embarrassing. If I am going to do it again I am going to do it quietly and not tell anyone. People have pledged money and donated money and then you just feel like a bit of a fraud at the end of it. But it’s something that was out of my control.”
As of Tuesday morning, his fundraising page had attracted more than $84,000 in donations.
Bickmore, who has just returned from her own stint in the UK, jumped in to reassure her co-host that he had no reason to be embarrassed.
“We were on the journey with you, people were supporting you because of what you were raising money for,” she said.
“It wasn’t for Tommy Little, it was for spinal cord injuries and it was the thing that you were willing to do that none of us were willing to do, which was put your body on the line for an incredible cause. You’ve not let anybody down.”
During the chat, Little also revealed his swim attempt ended with him throwing up for hours.
“I got the boat back and I forgot, because the swim was over, that I get seasick and so I didn’t take any seasick tablets. So I spent 13 hours spewing over the side of a boat.”