It’s a dog’s life for fundraisers
Team of 10 completes epic 155 mile Thames charity swim challenge
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
The paddlers on their journey along the Thames. Top, sunset in Reading
GOING FOR GLORY: