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A university lecturer has completed his swim round Arran after undertaking the challenge in memory of his friend Kate Mowatt, and to raise funds for mental health charity, Papyrus UK.
Biomedical lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, Andre Phillips, 30, completed the 100km swim over 15 days and finished at Lamlash bay last Saturday where a crowd of supporters waited to congratulate him.
Swimming in the open sea with little more than a safety kayak to accompany him and provide energy rich foods to keep up his stamina, Andre faced high winds, rip currents, bitterly cold temperatures, stinging jellyfish and even a shark in his efforts to complete the swim.
Andre said: ‘On the last day safety swimmer Georgina Lepley Maclean and I were swimming around the headland north of Lamlash, fighting huge swell, force six headwinds, without safety kayakers because the weather was too rough for them, and realised we were competent, happy, and safe in those insane conditions, with some land safety.
‘That was an incredible experience and a huge buzz to finish off what has been an incredible adventure.
‘The last day was a real struggle with force six winds and huge waves, so actually getting out that was mainly just a relief.
‘It was amazing to see so many people at the end who had supported me, whether online or by donating or by sharing their local knowledge.
‘Seeing people who cared about this charity and the adventure; the locals really came out to support including with cake, sausage rolls and coffee.’
Andre endured two jelly fish stings to his face during the challenge, however, at the forefront of his mind was completing the swim, his friend Kate, and raising money for the youth suicide prevention charity Papyrus.
Andre said: ‘Kate was always up for adventures outside and would definitely be trying to help out with other adventures if she was still with us.
‘By doing this swim I hope to bring in a lot of friends and family of Kate’s to remember her fondly, and to raise money for a charity she supported, and help prevent future tragedies.
‘Throughout the swim I have been astounded by the amount of help people on Arran have been willing to provide in terms of their time, money, and offering me free food at the many cafes scattered around the coast.
‘People are awesome and will do amazing things for each other. That is what I hope to take away from this swim.’
Because of Andre’s fundraising efforts, Papyrus UK will receive £6,577 from the 192 supporters who donated to his JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swimaroundarran
Papyrus UK is the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. It runs Hopeline UK 0800 068 4141, a freephone confidential helpline staffed by trained professionals providing advice, support and information to anyone who is feeling suicidal, or concerned that a young person they know may be at risk.