Simon Harkin's personal swimming challenge                                                        24 February 2015

12 years ago my little brother committed suicide after several years of suffering from his bi-polar disorder. He had made two previous serious attempts on his life before his last successful attempt. The impact on our family was devastating both during his illness and after his death. Nobody will understand what we went through unless they experienced it themselves.

On the very day he died stricken with grief I felt compelled suddenly to write a song. A song of love and hope. I am not a professional and had never done anything like this before but felt inspired to do it. Please see link below if you are interested in listening to it. 

For years I have grappled with wanting to do something more positive and now feel able to push forward. I would like to do more to raise awareness and I have wondered whether the song could be a vehicle for achieving this. I know it has brought enormous comfort to not only my family but to those I have shared it with who have had similar issues. Despite its lack of professional quality! 

I am seeking professional help to develop the song (more professional recording) but happy to promote it and our story via a number of options currently. What I want is to hang it off a charity so that in raising awareness I can promote giving to a charity dedicated to researching the condition. I have researched a number of charities and feel very attracted to yours.

My thanks to Helen Black for goading me into racing her for charity. We are work colleagues and both very competitive and this has been talked about for some time. Helen is a Swimfit fanatic, completing up to 400 lengths a week. I have not swum much since school, though I did swim for the school. I am 49 and Helen is significantly younger so the odds of me beating her are stacked against me! I am now in serious training (4 times a week) and hope to be able to at least run her close when we race on 24 February 2015. I have always been a keen sportsman so who knows what I can achieve over the next few weeks! In addition to the race, which will be over 4 lengths, I will swim on and complete, for every £25 donated, a length of the pool up to a maximum of 34 lengths (the age my brother was when he died).