Alumni Services

Stewart Laing's Channel Swim

Edinburgh alumnus, Stewart Laing is taking on the ultimate challenge of swimming the English Channel to raise money for Greenhouse, a London based youth and sports charity.

Stewart Laing

Stewart followed his elder brother to Edinburgh where he soon got involved in ‘playing an awful lot of rugby’, both for the University, and the somewhat more dubiously named ‘Trojans of Girth’ teams, alongside some recreational golf, and fitting in a Business Studies degree.

His interest in charity fundraising was really born at Edinburgh University, where he spent a year volunteering for the British Red Cross, helping out wherever needed, including with working with the elderly and disabled people. He then completed his time in the city by leaving to race across the globe as part of the Mongol Rally, ending in Ulaanbaatar, with another fellow Edinburgh alumnus and flatmate, Christopher Kenning.

A passion for sport

Stewart Laing

Since graduating in 2006, Stewart has been working in London, and still finding time for following his passion for sport, as well as studying alongside his job.

He completed his Masters in Real Estate at City University and works in the London construction world. It was during this time that he started volunteering as a swimming coach for Greenhouse, a charity which engages disadvantaged and disabled young people in different sports, across the boroughs of London.

This was where the idea for the cross-Channel swim challenge was born. Incredibly, less people have swum the English Channel successfully than have climbed Mount Everest.

The right preparation

The swim ‘weather window’ will open on September 12th and he has until the 17th to make his attempt.

Stewart has been in training for the last 18 months for this swim, including braving sub-zero temperatures at Tooting Bec Lido throughout the winter and going down to Dover every weekend for the all-important sea training.

The swim ‘weather window’ will open on September 12th and he has until the 17th to make his attempt, most likely setting off at night and spending about 15 hours in the water.


Greenhouse is a charity dear to Stewart’s heart, as he’s seen first-hand the impact of their work and he’s set himself the ambitious target of raising £50,000 for the cause. You can follow Stewart’s progress on Twitter or take a look at his sponsorship page.

Good luck

We wish Stewart all the best with his swim and are proud that the University played a role in fostering both his love of sport and his commitment to fundraising.