Olympic MND task for Tracey

A Galashiels woman is taking on one of the toughest challenges of her life by attempting to swim 10km in aid of Doddie Weir’s MND charity.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 12:00 am

Tracey Davidson, who is 49 and now lives in London, is the first to admit she is no athlete.

But after hearing of the plight of the former Borders rugby star – who announced in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease – and his subsequent work to raise funds for MND research, she was keen to help.

Tracey told us: “With Doddie being a Borderer – even though he decided to play for Melrose instead of Gala – I felt it important to try to do something.

Frater Davidson in his Galashiels shop.

“I’m no runner, but I like to swim. So I thought I would give myself a real challenge and swim 10km – 200 lengths of the Olympic swimming pool in Stratford, East London.”

For the challenge, which she is set to undertake on November 10, she hopes to somewhat emulate the feats of her late father Frater Davidson, who died in 2004.

Frater was a member of the Galashiels water polo team that won the Scottish Cup thrice, in 1959, 1962 and 1967 – a team that also boasted Doug Welsh, who went on to swim for Great Britain in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Frater was also capped several times for Scotland in water polo.

However, for all his sporting feats, Frater was probably best known as the smiling face behind the counter in his own newsagents at the fountain.

Tracey said: “While I like swimming, I’ve never done anything like this before.

“I’ve never learned how to do a proper push-off or a turn, so I’ve been training for some months for this challenge.

“I have never been a club or competitive swimmer and have never entered a sporting event of this kind.

“I’ve been coming to the pool every week for an hour to the swim doctor ... he’s been looking at my stroke so I can get the best out of it.

“I have also been practising in my lunch breaks. The most I have managed so far at one time is 160 lengths, so I’ve only got another 40 to find.”

Tracey works in marketing at London’s South Bank University as senior events manager, and her colleagues are all behind her.

She said: “I’m going to have a lot of support on poolside, which will be fantastic.

“I have already raised more than my initial target of £750 ... with £1,045 raised on my Just Giving page ... but of course, I want to raise as much as I possibly can.”

So, she’s hoping some of her old Borders pals, as well as people who remember her dad fondly, can help her do just that.

She said: “With your help and donations, we’ll fund further research into MND and help those with the condition to live as fulfilled a life as possible.

“So if you can, please contribute to the MyNameDoddie5 foundation’s amazing work and sponsor me, ‘Team Tracey D’

To help support Tracey in her 10km swim challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teamtraceyd