Graeme Souness finishes heroic English Channel Swim and surpasses £1m in fundraising

Liverpool and Rangers hero Graeme Souness has finished a heroic swim across the English Channel which has seen him raise over £1million. The 70-year-old undertook the mammoth challenge in aid of DEBRA who support people living with the rare, extremely painful, genetic skin blistering condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

Souness felt compelled to complete the challenge after meeting 14-year-old Isla Grist, a sufferer of the skin burning condition, who he described as the ‘most unique’ person he had ever met. The youngster suffers from a condition known as "butterfly skin" which causes the skin to tear or blister at the smallest of touches.

Souness completed the challenge as part of a six-man relay team who completed the swim in a time of 12 hours and 17 minutes.

DEBRA had set a fundraising target of £1m ahead of the challenge which was beaten while the swim was taking place. The six-man team started just before 11.30pm on Saturday night and finished on Sunday morning.

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The former Scotland international appeared on BBC News talking ahead of the challenge when he described Isla as an ‘inspiration’. “Football does its bit for charity,” said Souness.

“Players are much maligned and criticised, but football does its bit. Throughout my life I’ve had the good fortune to spend time with people who are not very well.”

Isla, from near Inverness, has suffered with the condition since birth and her body is mostly wrapped in bandages. The bandages are changed three times a week and she takes painkillers due to it being extremely painful to do so.

“I knew nothing about this disease,” added Souness. “This disease is the cruellest, nastiest disease out there that I know of. It properly punched me on the nose when I first witnessed a sufferer.

“We must bring some relief to them. Every single day is a chore and every single moment they’re awake they are in pain.”

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