Edinburgh couple take on epic swim challenge for Samaritans one year after son's suicide

An Edinburgh couple braved a chilly sunrise swim on Sunday as part of 370km swim for charity, one year after their 25-year-old son took his own life.
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Jenny Findlay and her husband, John, rallied their swim buddies to raise cash for Samaritans, 13 months after their son Michael took his own life shortly after his 25th birthday.

Together with their friends known as the Salties, the couple braved the early morning sea at Portobello Beach in the latest leg of their ambitious drive to swim the equivalent distance from Norway to Shetland to raise awareness of mental health in young people.

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Through a mixture of sea and pool swims the pals will collectively cover the 370km, with all money going to help the charity which provides vital support to those at their lowest ebb.

Photo by Arch WhitePhoto by Arch White
Photo by Arch White

Jenny chose the distance because it reminded her of their last family holiday together in 2019. Son Michael was to join Jenny, John and his big brother, David, as they crewed on a

tall ship from Bergen in Norway to Lerwick in Shetland. In the end Michael was too ill to join them.

“Mike had forgotten all the things that made him feel vital and empowered – walking in the hills, cycling, dancing. As a mother I loved him more than words and will never

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forget the joy and love he brought to us all throughout his short life,” said Jenny, who lives in south Edinburgh. “We are told the deep and abiding grief we feel will

Winter Soltice, in Memory of Michael Findlay
Photo: Arch WhiteWinter Soltice, in Memory of Michael Findlay
Photo: Arch White
Winter Soltice, in Memory of Michael Findlay Photo: Arch White

lessen with time, and we hang on to that hope with the support, generosity and love of friends who have surrounded us since his death.”

Jenny is now campaigning for a change in the law to better protect young people and to raise awareness that might help prevent further tragedies like Mike’s. Her friends

are backing her by participating in the swim, including this morning’s sunrise dip. So far they have swam 40km.

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“We want to actively challenge ourselves to engage with that feeling of hope and belief and to raise funds for suicide prevention,” she added. “We want to educate, to

change legislation and help provide necessary support wherever it is needed to raise awareness with regards to all existing and new interventions in the fight against


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