swimmer Graham Matthew is set to take on another gruelling challenge later this year to raise funds for charity.
In August he will set out from Dover as part of the English Channel Swim Relay to raise money for Diabetes UK’s research fund, the latest in a series of fund-raising activities which have realised thousands of pounds for worthy causes.
And his achievements are all the more remarkable as he is a former organ transplant patient. Eight years ago he received a kidney from his sister, Lorraine, and afterwards started raising money and awareness for transplant charities.
A keen squash player, Graham, from Hillside, is also a veteran of several World Transplant Games and two years ago he swam the notorious Gulf of Corrievreckan between the islands of Jura and Scarba on the west coast, which features the world’s third largest whirlpool at its north side.
A biomedical scientist and associate lecturer at Abertay University, Graham was moved to raise funds for Diabetes UK because of the number of people he encounters who need kidney transplants because of the disease.
He said: “Many of my fellow transplantees and team members have needed a kidney transplant as a result of diabetes. In around 40 per cent of people who will need a kidney transplant, this is due to diabetes.”
Graham will be part of team of six who will cross between Dover and Cape Nez Gris in France in August under strict Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CS&PF) rules, which means the swim will be undertaken without wetsuits.
As part of his training he joined Ye Ancient Amphibious Bathing Association at the weekend take the plunge in to the chilly waters of Broughty Ferry harbour for his first outdoor swim without a wetsuit
He said: “Currently I’m swimming 1.5 kilometres each day with longer swims at the weekend. As the swim is an official crossing with no wetsuits or other aids permitted, I’m slowly becoming acclimatised to cold water outdoor swimming. I play squash and cycle each week and with the better weather approaching, I will be undertaking more intensive swimming, cycling and running to increase my stamina and cardio-fitness.”
Each team member must raise £1,350 to take part in the challenge. The cost of hiring an official CS&PF pilot is in the region of £3,000 with the rest of the funds raised going towards Diabetes UK.
Anyone wishing to support Graham’s challenge can make a donation online at www.justgiving.com/Graham-Matthew-ChannelSwim.