Enter the Great Scottish Swim at: Greatswim.org/Scotland

A father who lost his mum to cancer took up swimming in a bid to turn his lifestyle around and will now take on a 5k challenge to support the charity that cared for her in her final days.

John Holmes, from Blantyre in Glasgow, lost his mum Mary to cancer in 2010 and her death left a huge hole in the family. During the time leading up to her death, Mary was supported by Macmillan Cancer Support, whose nurses helped her and the rest of her family feel comforted in her final moments.

John was hugely touched by the charity's efforts and vowed to repay them by fundraising after his mum's death. Seven years later, John finally took the fundraising plunge in the New Year and was encouraged by his two sons Jake, 10, and Evan, six, to start swimming with them.

He enjoyed it so much that he began swimming regularly and decided that he would embark on a fundraising challenge using his new found hobby.

He bravely signed up for the 5k distance of the Great Scottish Swim on Saturday 27 August. Since training for the event, John has completely turned his life around and has lost three stone in the process.

He also has managed to raise over £200 for Macmillan, who he says have changed his outlook on life.

John, 44, said: “When my Mum was diagnosed with cancer, it was a very difficult time for us because she knew it was terminal.

“We were introduced to Macmillan and they supported us every step of the way through mum's final days.

“They made sure we were all there during her final hours and their help gave us great comfort during a very sad time.

“After she left us, I was speaking to the nurses and was shocked to learn that Macmillan rely purely on personal donations.

“I decided I really wanted to support them in some way in memory of Mum, but having a busy lifestyle meant that I always found excuses to get myself out there and challenge myself.

“Then at the turn of the year, I went swimming with my two sons and had an amazing time getting involved in a hobby that we all enjoyed.

“It made me determined to take on a challenge for Macmillan that involved swimming and that's why I signed up to do the Great Scottish Swim.

“Within months, I feel so much more confident, I have a positive mindset and I have lost three stone!”

John will join over 2,500 swimmers for the Great Scottish Swim, which is set to take place in beautiful Loch Lomond on 26 August for the fifth consecutive year.

Participants are given the chance to swim in the picturesque surroundings of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, across a variety of distances ranging from half a mile to a marathon 10k swim.

John added: “Macmillan's support have been invaluable to us as a family and they helped with mum's last wishes which were very important to us.

"Taking up swimming has really changed my life as I now feel motivated to want to make a difference by helping a cause like Macmillan by challenging myself, but I also think the physical element is great as it's making me more active.

“I am able to spend more time with my children doing sport and I finally was able to get into the open water to increase my training recently so I am really looking forward to doing something that I never thought I'd be able to achieve a couple of years ago.”

To support John, visit his fundraising page.

Enter the Great Scottish Swim at: Greatswim.org/Scotland