Harrogate woman's epic charity swim in memory of loving partner

Left to right: Keith Davies, Kerry Waddington, Janice Davies and family pet Billie.
Left to right: Keith Davies, Kerry Waddington, Janice Davies and family pet Billie.

A Harrogate woman whose partner died suddenly has bid to raise awareness of the life threatening condition to prevent others from going through the same experience.

Kerry Waddington has challenged herself to swim the length of the Channel in a bid to raise money and awareness of the condition which killed her partner Neil.

Neil Davies was exercising at The Hydro Gym in January last year when he collapsed and died, aged 42, from an aortic dissection (a tear in the inner line of the main artery of the heart).

Kerry said: “Neil had no symptoms and he was fit and well.

“There was no warning at all – he was on the running machine and just collapsed. The staff were amazing and tried to revive him but it all happened so quickly.”

Kerry said she knew nothing about aortic dissection until Neil’s death and wanted to spread awareness so that others might be prevented from suffering like she has.

To help raise funds for Heart Research UK, Kerry has taken on the charity's 'Swim the Channel challenge' where she will cover the distance of the English Channel in her local pool.

Completing her challenge at The Hydro pool, Kerry will have to cover 1,416 lengths to make up the 560km between Dover and Calais, and believes it will take a total of 12 weeks to do.

Kerry has set up a Just Giving page for her donations, which will all go towards a scheme run by the charity to give surgeons masterclasses on aortic arch surgery so more patients can be treated using specialist surgical techniques.

Since Neil's death, Kerry has also supported Aortic Dissection Awareness Day and has become even closer to his parents, Janice and Keith Davies.

Mr Davies said: "Neil crammed a lot into his 40 years.

"He was taken away from us and didn’t have a chance.

"If we can bring some awareness of aortic dissection through this experience then I’m sure Neil would be proud of that."

To support Kerry's fundraising efforts please visit her Just Giving Page here.