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Neil McKerley Charity Swim for Diabetes UK

On September 6th Neil McKerley will take to the choppy waters of the Firth of Forth in a bid to raise funds for charity.

For Neil, a quality control technician at Glasgow Audi, this swim is highly personal. His son Dylan, now 15, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes following a pancreatic viral infection aged only 2. The father of 2, who has been swimming since he was eight years of age, is now aiming to raise £500 for Diabetes UK. The charity has recently reported a 60% increase in the number of people living with diabetes and has said that 3.3 million people have some form of the condition, up from 2.1 million in 2005.

Organised by Vigour Events, this challenge will see Neil enter the water with a number of other swimmers at South Queensferry and from there swim the Firth of Forth directly alongside the world famous Forth Rail Bridge. The distance is equal to 90 lengths of the average swimming pool but unlike the local pool there will be no shallow end or friendly wall to grab hold of and take a rest.

Neil however is taking it all in in stride. “My journey will begin at Hawes Pier where I will take to the water in temperatures of 12 degrees. Once my feet kick off they won't touch ground again until I've conquered the entire breadth of the Forth. I'll not only be braving the chill of the North Sea but risk depths of up to 200 metres deep and waves of up to 2 feet high, all whilst trying to ignore the jaws theme tune playing in the back of my mind."

The swim will finish at the Old Pier at North Queensferry, a distance, if completed in one straight line, of 1.4 miles. There Neil will be met by his - no doubt very relieved - wife and parents.

Action man Neil has previously participated in several triathlons and outdoor events including a ½ mile swim at Oban Craggy Island. He is “very comfortable" in the water, having once been a life guard and swimming teacher.

To support Neil and help him reach his target, please follow this link.

By Tracey McBain