Businessman replicating prison escape swimming from Alcatraz to raise hospital funds - The Leamington Observer

Businessman replicating prison escape swimming from Alcatraz to raise hospital funds

Leamington Editorial 22nd Oct, 2018   0

A BUSINESSMAN from Kenilworth is planning a great escape Stateside – but for a good reason.

Neil Curtis, managing director of online marketing agency Net Visibility, will be aiming to swim from Alcatraz Island back to shore in San Francisco to replicate a famous prison escape, while raising funds for Warwick Hospital’s Aylesford Unit.

In 1962 prisoners Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin chipped through their cement cell walls, squeezed through a ventilation shaft to get to the roof, climbed down a drain pipe, scaled a 15-foot fence, and entered the icy waters of San Francisco Bay.

They disappeared into the night, wearing only life preservers made from stolen rain coats, and were never seen again.

Neil will not have to break out of the infamous prison, but when he jumps out of the small boat on November 3, he will face a point-to-point swim of 1.5 miles – 90 lengths of a standard swimming pool. It will be further complicated by strong cross currents and water temperatures of 12 degrees centigrade.

Starting early in the morning, Neil will be joining 50 other swimmers all of who will be aware this summer more Great White Sharks have been spotted in the San Francisco Bay area than ever before.

A technically challenging swim, the participants will have to aim for landmarks a significant distance away from the finish point and judge the tides so they perfectly curve into the narrow entrance to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Training is going well and Neil is swimming the race distance at least three times a week and is also getting used to cold water at Cliff Lakes in Tamworth every Saturday.

Neil describes his challenge as “a bit of fun and wonderfully mad” but there is a serious side to his adventure.

Five years ago Neil’s mum Sylvia was diagnosed with cancer and is currently receiving treatment from the teams at Warwick Hospital in the purpose built Ambulatory Cancer Unit.

Funds raised during Neil’s swim will enable the unit to purchase better equipment for cancer treatment and help make patient and their families’ waiting areas more comfortable.

Visit to donate.

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