“It was a melee of flesh, men packed on top of men, with the only light trickling in from small, barred windows. No guards were in sight. Instead, as far as the eye could see, a sweaty stew of hardened criminals looked me up and down in my soiled white suit.”

“In all the pigs’ sensitivity, in all their intelligence, curiosity, personality and generic similarities, in their intimate presence in our culture and religion, I wonder if the true magic of the swimming pigs of Exuma is because of some more profound connection. In them, we see us.”

“What an accident of history. What an amusing twist of fate that it took swimming pigs to make the world sit up and take notice. And it is remarkable that Exuma, one of the most beautiful places in the world, would soon be defined by the face of a pig.”

“He stood there for a moment with eyes closed, knowing, fearing yet loving, that this moment would have to sustain him for the rest of the day. Finally he opened his eyes, the water trickling down his skull, streaming down his scared forehead and onto his face.”

“Perhaps the sun was so bright and enticing, the sensation of flying so liberating, that Icarus could not help himself from climbing higher and higher. As for me, I just wanted to see how high I could fly.”

‘My dream is one step closer’

Jade Shovlin, 20, from Roker was diagnosed on May 22 with cancer of the oesophagus which doctors said is incurable.

She was told following her diagnosis that she has less than two years to live, leaving those close to her devastated.

Now that dream is one step closer after more than £10,000 was raised and a stranger stepped in to help.

Canadian author T.R Todd wrote a book about the infamous swimming pigs who live on an island in the Bahamas.

When he and resort owner Peter Nicholson saw Jade’s story online he contacted her and has offered to help arrange an all expenses paid trip.

Jade was delighted when they got in touch.

Click here to read more about Jade’s story in the Sunderland Echo.