THE family and friends of a Newport lifeguard who died of stomach cancer in 2011 have raised at least £1,100 for St David’s Hospice after completing a six-hour charity swimming relay.

Matt Lewis decided to set the challenge in memory of his brother of Steven, and along with seven friends smashed their targets of completing 1000 lengths and raising £1,000.

Rodri David, Gareth Way, Lewis Thomas, Dawn Lea, Steven Dack, Richard Stride and Ryan Farley joined Matt as they swum 1050 lengths at the Newport International Sports Village, the equivalent of 26.25 kilometres.

Each swimmer would complete one 25m length at a time before passing on to the next swimmer, with everyone completing an equal number of lengths.

Mr Lewis said: "It went really well. Because of how close swimming was to my brother's heart, I felt this challenge was right.

"We aimed for 1,000 lengths to begin with, and when we hit that, we aimed for 1,050.

"Some of the guys are really competitive, so were swimming their lengths in about 13 seconds, which gave us hardly any time to rest in between.

"I'm going to be aching for a good week or so at least. In the last two hours I could feel nothing in my shoulders and arms.

"My mum has organised so many events for St David's so I thought I should organise one this time."

Following the success of the event, the swimmers are looking to make it an annual event.

Steven’s mum, Jackie Lewis, and four of her friends have now raised more than £62,000 for St David’s Hospice in the last six and a half years of fundraising.

Mrs Lewis said: “The support that we have received has been incredible.

“When we started out in 2012 with a fancy dress walk, the five of us aimed to raise £250 each for St David’s and that was all it was going to be.

“We just wanted to pay them back for the support they provided for us, but we actually managed to raise £4,000.

“It’s been an incredible experience. It has kept my son’s memory alive and it has given me another life.”

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