Granny, 73, attempts solo English Channel swim

A QUEENSLAND grandmother will next month attempt to be the oldest person in the world to swim the English Channel – all in the name of a young husband and father who died of Motor Neurone Disease earlier this year.

Irene Keel, 73, will depart for the UK on Monday where she will attempt the swim – a minimum distance of 34 kilometres – between August 17 and 24, depending on weather.

She is working closely with trainer, Trent Grimsey, who holds the world record for the fastest ever English Channel swim of 6 hours 55 minutes in September 2012.


Irene is attempting the swim in memory of Scott Sullivan, 41, who died from motor neurone disease (MND) in April this year after his devastating diagnoses in 2010 – leaving behind his wife Sarah and two young children, Abbey and Charlie.

“I have always admired his (Scott’s) resilience and drive in the face of adversity,” Irene said.

“I will have a banner with his photo on my boat to remind me that no matter how hard my swim might be, it will not compare to Scott’s struggle.”

MND is an incurable degenerative disease that attacks the muscles, causing weakness and atrophy throughout the body.

Irene aims to raise $150,000 for the MND & Me Foundation – DONATE NOW.