Widow prepares for Channel swim after losing husband to bowel cancer

  • Watch video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw

A woman from Kent, whose husband died of bowel cancer at the age of 34, is preparing to swim part of the English Channel in his memory. 

Alex South passed away in March 2019, six months after being diagnosed with the disease, leaving his wife – Rosalind – and two young sons. 

Just weeks later, Rosalind was herself diagnosed with breast cancer

Alex South died in March 2019, after his bowel cancer spread to his liver. Credit: Family handout

It was just terrifying. I was exhausted, I just didn’t have the fight in me. People talk about your heart breaking. The day I lost Alex it felt like my heart broke in half.

Rosalind South, widow

Two years on, Rosalind is cancer free and preparing to embark on a swim of the Channel to raise funds in her late husband’s memory. She also hopes to try to dispel some of the myths around cancer.

"We were in our 30s, young, fit and healthy. We had no idea that at our age, this type of thing happens, and it does happen. Yes, it is fairly rare but it does happen. My main message is: know your body, trust your instincts, if there’s something you’re not sure about, get it checked out," Rosalind added.

  • Rosalind South is preparing to swim the Channel as part of a relay team:

The group of four amateur swimmers plan to make the journey as a relay from Dover to Calais in late July. 

Bob Clarkson, one of the group, told ITV News Meridian: “The most I have ever done is swum back to a boat that I may have fallen out of, or been on some sort of party jumping off the side, but no, I’m definitely not a sea swimmer.”

They hope to raise £50,000 for two charities: Bowel Cancer UK and Team Verrico.

Bob Clarkson is planning to swim from Dover to Calais in relay with Rosalind South, Kevin Shallow and Paul Morris.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, and the second biggest killer – claiming more than 16,000 lives a year.

Symptoms of bowel cancer can include a persistent change in bowel habit, abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating.