Simon’s 24 mile swim raises £10k
A FIREFIGHTER has completed an epic 24-mile, 16-hour, end to end swim of Loch Lomond to raise money for young cancer patients.
Simon Connolly, 52, has added his name to a list of less than 70 people who have swum from one end of the loch to another, while raising more than £10,500 for charity CLIC Sargent.
It caps off months of training and fundraising, which Simon, from Royton and a firefighter at Manchester Airport, says took over his life.
“I honestly can’t believe I’ve done it,” he said.
“There were definitely some dark moments in the water when I thought that I wouldn’t be able to complete it. You think about packing it in, but then it’s just a case of carrying on, stroke by stroke.”
Simon had to enter the water in the middle of the night, in order to maximize his daylight time in the water.
He said: “It was a very strange experience swimming in total darkness, it was like swimming into a black hole. It was a daunting start.”
Throughout the swim Simon was accompanied by a support boat, which held family and friends. They provided him with food and drink as he burned more than 10,000 calories. However, at mile 11, things took a turn for the worse and Simon felt ill and started vomiting. “That was the hardest time,” he said. “I just couldn’t stop being sick and I was floating in the water, feeling ill and thinking everything was all over.” But Simon pushed on and started to feel better, deciding to swim the remaining 13 miles without taking on any extra food. The final two miles were completed in total darkness. Simon added: “When I got close to the finish I could see lights in the distance but it just seemed like it wasn’t getting any closer. Your mind wanders and you are almost delirious and emotional.” CLIC Sargent is the charity partner of the Manchester Airports Group, but Simon was inspired to support it after losing his brother John to cancer in 2016. He said: “John was 58 when we lost him and things happened very quickly. It makes you realise how quickly your life can change. “I can’t imagine how devastating a diagnosis of cancer could be for a child or a young person so I think it’s really important they get that support.” Rachel Kirby-Rider, from CLIC Sargent, said: “We are absolutely blown away by Simon’s hard work and dedication to helping us.” Long distance swimmer Simon Connolly
Simon Connolly completed an epic 16-hour swim in Loch Lomond