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MONSTROUS CHALLENGE: Watford woman swims Loch Ness in memory of sister and nephew

 Published on: 2nd September 2023   |   By: Darius Morgan   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Watford woman has tackled a monstrous challenge to raise money for a suicide prevention charity after her nephew tragically lost his life.

In 2009, Helen Smith’s sister Heather died unexpectedly of an undiagnosed heart condition, sending the family into turmoil.

Helen said: “In Heather’s passing, she left behind three children. Charlie, aged 12, was an ordinary, fun-loving and cheeky little boy. However, he desperately missed his mum. So much so that on February 14, 2010, Charlie took his own life.

“Charlie’s suicide was incredibly difficult for us to understand and process, and it still is.”

Helen and her sister Hayley have since taken on a number of fundraising swims in support of two charities: Papyrus, which seeks to prevent young suicide, and the British Heart Foundation.

On the week in late August coinciding with one of the largest Loch Ness monster hunts in 50 years, Helen solo swam the 22-mile freshwater loch.

Ahead of the 16-hour swim, Helen said: “I’ll certainly have an audience and, monsters aside, there’ll be some very real things for me to worry about, such as the water temperature.

“Loch Ness is listed among the very tough marathon swims and certainly one which isn’t to be taken lightly.”

Papyrus chief executive Ged Flynn said: “We would like to say a big thank you to Helen and to all those who are supporting her Loch Ness swimming challenge.

“Money raised by fundraising events like Helen’s helps us to continue giving hope to young people who are struggling with life.

“We believe many young suicides can be prevented and together we can all help to keep our communities suicide-safe.”

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