It’s a dog’s life for fundrais­ers

Team of 10 com­pletes epic 155 mile Thames char­ity swim chal­lenge

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Matt Strud­wick matt.strud­wick@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A group of bark­ing mad fundrais­ers have com­pleted the first-ever doggy pad­dle swim along the Thames.

The 10 swim­mers fin­ished the 155 mile route from Lech­lade, Glouces­ter­shire to Put­ney on Thurs­day evening last week. The team have so far raised £19,391.57 for UK Stem Cell Foun­da­tion.

The non-stop re­lay saw the swim­mers be­ing ac­com­pa­nied by a gi­ant in­flat­able pink dog mas­cot named Stem dur­ing the six-day chal­lenge.

Cov­er­ing seven coun­ties, the re­lay swim­mers ar­rived at the Bell Weir Lock in Egham on Tues­day, be­fore mak­ing their way past Chert­sey Lock in the evening and fi­nally Teddington Lock the fol­low­ing day. The char­ity swim was co-founded by James Tay­lor who was left per­ma­nently paral­ysed in 2005 when he broke his neck div­ing un­der wave.

A trustee of UK Stem Cell Foun­da­tion, he said it was a great event for a great cause.

“It was re­ally hard work and, ob­vi­ously with it be­ing 24 hours a day, they haven’t had much time to sleep so ev­ery­one is pretty knack­ered,” he said.

“None of the swim­mers got ill, which was a con­cern.”

The fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment man­ager said the idea to doggy pad­dle was ‘all about try­ing to make more dif­fi­cult’.

“It was some­thing which hasn’t been done be­fore,” he said.

“Doggy pad­dling is very dif­fi­cult – it’s a slow stroke to do. Go­ing slowly is re­ally un­com­fort­able, In terms of a chal­lenge it re­stricts peo­ple to make it more dif­fi­cult.

“It’s quite eye-catch­ing – es­pe­cially with a mas­sive pink dog fol­low­ing us down the river which got peo­ple cheer­ing us on.”

Asked whether the chal­lenge was likely to be re­peated next year, Mr Tay­lor said it all depend­ing whether he could per­suade peo­ple to do the swim again.

JOUR­NEY: Co-founder of the event James Tay­lor. Right, in Abign­don and be­low, ar­riv­ing in Put­ney

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The pad­dlers on their jour­ney along the Thames. Top, sunset in Read­ing

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