A VISITOR with a host of Largs links took centre stage in Gillian's Saltire Appeal swim between Cumbrae Watersports Centre and Largs Yacht Haven.

Eva Knox, 12, came all the way up from Wigan to take top honours on the big day - after family from Largs alerted her to the event.

The talented youngster completed the 1.7 mile swim in a just 42 minutes 35 seconds to take top spot.

Mum Emma said: "I am a very proud mum.

"It was a fantastic cause and Eva raised lots of money."

Eva's gran is Irene Knox, who lives in Montgomerie Drive in Fairlie, and her great aunt is Alexa Lawson who lives in Largs.

Alexa's late husband Jim Lawson was great friends with Gillian Ward's father and the swim is carried out annually in Gillian, who died of breast cancer.

Eva said: "I have always wanted to do the swim and I couldn't believe how friendly and supportive everyone was.

"As I set off from Cumbrae, the current was against me but I soon managed to get into a rhythm,

"I remember as I was getting closer to the marina doing the breast stroke and trying to get my bearings.

"It was great coming out of the water and hearing all the cheers - and lots of people asked for selfies. I couldn't believe it that I finished first.

"I want to take part in next year's now and defend my title."

Eva's grandfather Tom swam for the west of Scotland, although father Graham joked that the swimming gene 'skipped a generation'.

Eva raised a total of £1500 for Gillian's Saltire Appeal.

There was an impressive total of 60 swimmers who took part in the big swim.

A charity spokeswoman said: " Thanks to everyone who has helped us organise such a great event."

For the full swim results, see the Sports Compendium on pages 44 and 45.