George’s Black Dog swim raises $131,000
21 April, 2023

“My generation has been taught to listen, but listening is no good if people aren’t talking. It’s important that people know how to respond if someone needs to talk – there is a real need to get those skills out into the community.”

That’s the view of 20-year-old George Glover of Blenheim who raised $131,225 through a marathon ‘Black Dog’ swim in February for Mike King’s ‘I am Hope’ charity.

The Top of the South Community Foundation, through the Craigs Christmas Giving programme, was among those supporting George’s fundraising.

“Mental health is a real challenge in New Zealand, and the effort George is supporting to simply encourage people to talk about it is a real credit to him.  The Foundation is delighted to support his work through the Craigs Christmas Giving programme,” says Dave Ashcroft, chair of TotSCF.

George exceeded his goal to raise $100,000 to provide more than 800 counselling sessions for New Zealand’s most at-risk youth through the ‘I am Hope’ charity.

It’s a cause that’s close to his heart. “A big part of it is the challenge and making myself uncomfortable. But it’s also about getting people talking about mental health and the challenge of talking to others,” says George who spent close to eight days swimming around Lake Rotoiti, in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Younger sister Molly Glover is proud of her brother. “Swimming in the lake wasn’t easy and it was very cold. The first three legs George swam by himself and then he was joined by other swimmers and kayakers. On the final day Mike King joined us which was very special.”

George is no stranger to impressive challenges to raise funds for youth mental health. In 2020 he raised more than $60,000 for ‘I Am Hope’ by swimming the 61.5km length of the Queen Charlotte Sound and back again, totalling 123km – five times the Cook Strait swim distance. To date he remains the only swimmer to have completed this swim.

His original plan for the latest fundraiser was to swim up the east coast of the South Island from Christchurch to Blenheim, but unfavourable weather conditions made that impossible and he opted for a lake swim instead.

George has been working with the University of Canterbury Athlete Academy Programme and is studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sport Science and a Bachelor of Commerce. One of his aims is continuing to explore the link between mental health and sport.

George is also the President of Lads Without Labels – a student-led club dedicated to improving men's mental health in and around campus. 

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