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Taking the charity plunge

13 August 2013

Julian Halcox

A University Professor and cardiac consultant is ditching his white coat and stethoscope in favour of trunks and goose fat in a fundraising attempt to swim the English Channel.  

The challenge is the brain-child of Professor of Cardiology, School of Medicine, and Consultant Cardiologist at the University Hospital of Wales, Julian Halcox and Powys GP James Wrench, who've enlisted the support of five friends and fellow Welsh doctors and scientists to form a seven-man charity relay team.

"I used to swim and play waterpolo at a fairly competitive level when at school and University, I also played with James and other members of the channel team whilst at medical school. Three of them also swam the channel in the summer of 1988 – so we have some idea of what we're letting ourselves in for," according to Professor Halcox.

"I suppose the plan was hatched after realising that five members of the team – who all trained together in London -are now in various guises working in Wales. We thought it would be a good idea to get the team back together to do something that would help us get fit, have some fun and support a great cause," he added.

The seven-man team will each swim for an hour at a time and hope to raise as much funding as possible for Heart Research Fund for Wales – a dedicated Welsh charity set-up by heart specialists at the University Hospital of Wales to help fund research and specialist education measures to help prevent  avoidable deaths from heart disease.

In addition to Professor Halcox and Dr Wrench, the team consists of Cardiff-based Dr Phil Freeman, a Welsh Clinical Academic Trainee in Cardiology based at Cardiff University and Consultant Neurologist based at the University Hospital of Wales, Dr Robin Corkill.

The other members of the team include: Professor Marc Clement from Swansea University, Jon David a Community Pharmacist based in North Wales and Dr Stuart D'Arcy, the Director of Microbiology for Public Health Wales in Bangor.  

Professor Halcox adds: "It's a sad fact that heart disease remains the principal cause of death in both men and women living in Wales - its incidence here is also amongst the highest in the world.

"The Heart Research Fund for Wales is different in that it ensures that all money raised in Wales is spent in Wales. It helps me and my colleagues access vital funds – not otherwise available - to purchase equipment and reagents or pay the salaries and course expenses of research doctors, nurses and technicians.

"We need to drastically cut the number of unnecessary deaths from premature heart disease in Wales.

"We hope by taking on this challenge we can play our part by raising much needed funds."

The attempt takes place on the 26th September, 2013. For further information or to sponsor visit:

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