Kiwi completes 40km Scottish loch swim

By Sophie Ryan, Stephanie Arthur-Worsop of the Rotorua Daily Post

David Dawson. Photo / File
David Dawson. Photo / File

Ex-pat David Dawson has become the first New Zealander to swim solo the length of Loch Lomond in Scotland, the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain.

The swim was a fundraiser for the Rotorua Community Hospice, who cared for Mr Dawson's late mother after she suffered a brain aneurism.

Rotorua Community Hospice spokeswoman Jan Morgan said she had received an email from a contact who had liaised with Mr Dawson's sister in Scotland to say he had completed it at 6.53am New Zealand time after spending 12 hours, 23 minutes in the water.

Mr Dawson raised more than $8,000 for Rotorua Community Hospice for his 40km swim, and the money was still coming in through online donations.

"It's all pretty emotional for us here at Hospice. We just say a huge, big thank you." Ms Morgan said.

"He is a true hospice hero, just put a cape on him I say."

Mr Dawson entered the 19C loch at 6.30pm New Zealand time yesterday, his 50th birthday in New Zealand.

Ms Morgan said she understood it had also coincided with the anniversary of the day his mother was buried.

"The generosity of so many will help us purchase specialist equipment such as motorised electric beds with pressure mattresses, wheelchairs and walking frames," Ms Morgan said.

"This equipment helps our patients pass as peacefully and painlessly as possible while still holding onto their dignity."

Fewer than 50 people have made the 40km Loch Lomond swim.

Mr Dawson has lived in England for the past 24 years.

He posted on his website that he was doing the swim in support of Rotorua Community Hospice.

"I guess we all don't think about a hospice until we need to, but the care and support they provide to our community is unparalleled, in my opinion, and I really want to show that the people of Rotorua (my home town) can and want to get behind supporting the hospice."

- APNZ, Rotorua Daily Post

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