Mum’s shock death inspires son’s big swim

Charity swimmer Mike Bishop with sons Isaac, left, and Henry, right
Charity swimmer Mike Bishop with sons Isaac, left, and Henry, right

A father-of-two donned his swimming trunks to compete in a gruelling swim against the clock in memory of his mum.

Mike Bishop, 43, swam 6.5km across the notorious Boshphorus Strait, a busy shipping lane in Turkey, in a bid to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

The sudden death of his mother Barbara Coyle, 63, just two months after she was diagnosed in April 2012 was a massive shock for the family.

Mike, who lives with wife Sue and their sons Henry, 10, and Isaac, 6, said: “We were very close and her death hit us all really hard.

“Her grandchildren were her world and she was really looking forward to spending more time with them.”

The loss of his mum inspired the software director to take on the challenge, which saw 1,700 people – including James and Pippa Middleton – get in the water to tackle the busy shipping lane in under two hours, after which Turkish authorities reopen it.

Far from a seasoned swimmer, Mike had never swum in open water before embarking on his training schedule.

Mike, of Towersey Drive, Thame, said: “I was ready to pull out after my first sea swim – it went very badly and I thought I’d never be ready in time - but I was determined to carry on in Mum’s memory.”

Mike’s training regime paid off and he completed the swim in 1hr 5mins. He said: “I made it – with a great sense of relief!”

So far, he has raised more than £1,600 for the charity. To donate, visit Mike’s Just Giving page here.