Byron Festival to re-create amazing Hellespont swim

LORD Byron has gained worldwide recognition as arguably England’s greatest Romantic poet.

And despite his lame foot, he also proved himself to be a magnificent swimmer.

So both these aspects of Byron’s life will be covered in the 2012 International Byron Festival, it has been announced.

Always based in Hucknall, next year’s festival will take place from Friday June 1 to Sunday June 10.

Fittingly in the year of the London Olympic Games, the festival theme will be ‘Byron And Sport’.

Hucknall Leisure Centre will be hired for two days of the festival. One day will be devoted to a general sponsored swim to benefit Help For Heroes, the charity which supports British servicemen and women who have been wounded in action.

The other day will be given over to the ‘Hellespont Challenge’ to swim one or two miles. This event will commemorate Byron’s remarkable feat of swimming the Turkish open water Hellespont, from Europe to Asia, in 1810.

Byron declared that he was more proud of this accomplishment than he “could possibly be over any other glory, political, poetical or rhetorical”.

Festival organiser Ken Purslow asks clubs, teams or individuals wishing to get involved in either of the swimming events to contact him at ‘Acushla’, Halam Road, Southwell NG25 OAD or by e-mail at

For the third successive year, one highlight of the festival will be a poetry competition in memory of the late Maureen Crisp, who organised the festival.

There are two separate categories for school pupils — at key stage one and two and key stage three and four — as well as an open class.

The winner of each category will receive a trophy and the overall winner will be awarded the Maureen Crisp Memorial Poetry Trophy, to be held for 12 months. Entries are to be sent to Mr Purslow.