Sandy (74) takes on 24-mile loch swim challenge

Mark O'Neill and Susan Cuthbert from Marie Curie with Sandy.
Mark O'Neill and Susan Cuthbert from Marie Curie with Sandy.

A retired nurse is aiming to swim the length of one of Scotland’s most 
famous lochs to help in the fight against cancer.

Sandy Bern (74), from East Dunbartonshire reckons he will be one of the oldest people to tackle Loch Lomond.

At a total of 24 miles long, the famous loch is the largest 
inland stretch of water in the whole of Great Britain.

The past member of 
the British Long distance Swimming Association 
prepared for his big challenge by swimming 640 lengths of the pool at Kirkintilloch 
Leisure Centre on a single day last week.

But even this marathon effort was only equivalent to 10 miles - less than half of his open water marathon.

He is raising money for the Marie Curie Cancer Care hospice at Huntershill and plans to swim Loch Lomond in September.

Sandy, who was a nurse for 26 years, told the Herald: “After I retired from nursing I worked for an agency and did many shifts with Marie Curie. The work they do is exceptional. The palliative care they 
provide is next to none.

“I am hoping for as much support as possible. Marie 
Curie definitely deserves it. “

This will not be Sandy’s first ambitious open water challenge.

He completed the 10.5km Loch Earn challenge in the Highlands some years ago and an eight-mile tidal swim in 
the River Tay Estuary.

But swimming Loch Lomond will be his biggest test to date.

Mark O’Neill at Marie Curie said: “Sandy Bern is some character. We hope many 
people will support him.”

If you would like to make a donation to the cause you can do by visiting

For more information about Marie Curie go to