'Barking Mad' Team Aim to Doggy Paddle the Thames

Five days and 155 miles to raise money for stem cell research


'Barking Mad' Team Aim to Doggy Paddle the ThamesImage copyright Oli Green

For more information about the challenge and how to donate visit www.thamesdoggy.com.

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Forget the elegant butterfly, on the 22 of August ten hardy souls will be channelling a hairier and altogether less graceful animal as they attempt to doggy paddle the length of the Thames. Over five days and nights the Thames Doggy team will put one paw in front of the other in a non-stop relay in aid of the UK Stem Cell Foundation.

The team, which includes Chiswick resident 'J-Dog', John Limpus, will set off from St John’s Lock in Lechlade at 9am on Saturday 22 August and hope to reach Putney by Wednesday morning. From Putney they will proceed to Tower Bridge with a large inflatable pink dog. For safety reasons this leg of the journey will see the team out of the water paddling a vessel.

The challenge is the brainchild of old friends, sports and exercise medicine doctor and ad hoc adventurer, Hamish Reid, and financial investment manager, James Taylor. In 2005 James broke his neck diving under a wave resulting in permanent paralysis. He subsequently became a trustee of the UK Stem Cell Foundation and has been heavily involved with their fundraising. Hamish took the doggy paddle idea to James and eventually Thames Doggy was borne.

James Taylor, co-founder of Thames Doggy and UKSCF trustee said, “In just one minute I was thrown into a world I knew nothing about. There is no cure for my spinal injury, suddenly I was faced with full body paralysis and the implications on every aspect of my life were huge”. He went on to say “The research funded by the UK Stem Cell Foundation has the potential to cure currently incurable conditions, such as cancers, blindness and paralysis however in order to turn research into real treatments for patients the charity needs support”.

Hamish Reid, Thames Doggy ‘pack leader’ said, “people often laugh at us when they see us doggy paddling but it is not until they try the ‘stroke of champions’ that they realise how utterly exhausting and inefficient it is, however if by looking a bit ridiculous in the river we can raise awareness and vital funds for stem cell research it will all be worth it”.

John Limpus blogger and managing director of Urban Vitality said, 'this is one of my more unusual challenges, at the moment I am one of the slowest in the pack but I am hoping that the doggy paddle miles that I have been putting in will help see me through". He went on to say that he is 'hoping to see a few familiar faces waving as we swim through Chiswick'.

The Thames Doggy team hope to raise over £200,000 for the UKSCF.

August 12, 2015