Head of Audit plans to dive into Loch Ness for charity

Tue 10 August 2021 Head of Audit plans to dive into Loch Ness for charity

Helen Smith, Head of Audit has decided to complete a solo swim of the length of Loch Ness in Scotland in 2021. 

She has previously swam the English Channel with her sister as a two person relay in 2017.  

Helen will be raising funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in memory of her younger sister, Heather. Heather died in 2009 aged 36 from a heart attack whilst undergoing a routine procedure in hospital. 

Training during the pandemic has been difficult with the closure of lakes and pools. However, land training and river swims have helped in maintaining swim fitness and once the lakes and pools opened again, Helen’s training resumed with a vengeance. 

In addition to her regular pool, lake, river and sea swimming; Helen completed a swim of the length of Ullswater which is 7.5 miles. She completed the swim in 6 hours and 25 minutes on 17th July 2021. Then on 18th July 2021, Helen completed the length of Windermere, 10.5 miles in 9 hours and 50 minutes. 

Loch Ness is 22.5 miles long, 230m deep and the water temperature ranges between 3 – 16 degrees. According to the British Long Distance Swimming Association (BLDSA) and Marathon Swimmers Federation, less than 80 people have completed a ratified swim.

Helen will be supported by a pilot and crew. She will adopt Channel Swimming Rules, which means she will be wearing a standard swimming costume, a hat and a pair of goggles. Helen is hoping to spot the friendly Loch Ness Monster lurking somewhere in the depths along the way.

This year the BHF is celebrating 60 years of pioneering research. In the 1960s, more than 7 out of 10 heart attacks in the UK were fatal. Thanks to the research carried out by the BHF there has been a revolution in how heart attacks are treated. Today at least 7 out of 10 people survive. 

Since it’s foundation in 1961, the BHF has contributed to some of the biggest advances in heart disease research but heart and circulatory conditions are still the biggest killers across the world. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the research carried out by the BHF. 

It is estimated that investment in new research is likely to halve in 2021. From around £100 million to around £50 million. This sharp fall in income could have a devastating impact on UK cardiovascular research. Every little bit will help! 

Karl Coppack, Fundraising Manager for the British Heart Foundation, said: “We cannot say a big enough thank you to Helen for taking on this incredible challenge to support our work.” 

“All the money that she is helping to raise will enable our scientists to keep looking for new ways to prevent, treat, and cure heart and circulatory disease.” 

He continued: “Our research has given us machines that can restart hearts and the ability to fix arteries in tiny babies. But despite this progress our work remains as urgent as ever and support like this is absolutely vital.” 

If you would like to help, please consider sponsoring Helen here.

We would like to wish Helen the best of luck on her Loch Ness Swim!



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