Roger, 70, is out to become oldest Channel swimmer


RETIRED surgeon Roger Allsopp is hoping to become the oldest person to swim the Channel.

He completed the challenge in 2006 and now, at the age of 70, he is planning to do it again to raise money for Hope for Guernsey, of which he is chairman. He plans to complete his swim in July or August this year.

Moved by his story, Healthspan chairman Derek Coates offered to help Mr Allsopp reach his £750,000 target through fund-raising by staff and customers. But he has also donated £250,000 personally towards it.

The money will be used to purchase new technology that will speed up the medical research that Hope supports at Southampton General Hospital.
Mr Allsopp spent a day a week training at its breast cancer unit 15 years ago.
‘It was a great privilege to assist in the teaching of students and trainee surgeons,’ he said.

‘It was also after talking to colleagues in Southampton that we came up with the research idea.’

The Imperial Cancer Research Fund, now Cancer Research, chose Guernsey in 1961 for a study into different forms of cancer.

Samples were taken, and in 2005 Mr Allsopp teamed up with Paul Townsend, at the time a lecturer in human genetics, to see what would happen if the 50-year-old samples were used in future testing.

They looked at whether it was possible to detect differences in blood between those who had cancer and those who did not.

Prof. Townsend has now identified 27 biological markers from the blood of cancer patients.

Mr Coates said the research struck a chord with him, particularly as he had cancer 30 years ago.

‘As well as his intense training, Roger is also working hard to secure matching grants for this cutting-edge research,’ he said.

‘I want to help his efforts and will therefore be making a personal donation of £250,000 which will make it easier for him to obtain that extra support.
Mr Coates said he was astounded by Mr Allsopp’s personal commitment and how times had changed since his father’s generation.

‘I find his “live-younger” attitude to life and his continuing efforts to improve the health of the nation to be inspirational,’ he said.

‘This has far-reaching potential, offering the prospect of further innovative developments in many other chronic diseases.’

GEP Article by Aimee Le Cocq 9/6/2011

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