Knebworth grandfather abandons English Channel crossing attempt

Andy Nation celebrates with a bottle of champagne after reaching Dover - where he returns to tonight

Andy Nation celebrates with a bottle of champagne after reaching Dover - where he returns to tonight for the final leg of his journey - Credit: Archant

A 63-YEAR-OLD man who began swimming across the English Channel this morning (Thursday) has been forced to abandon his attempt.

Andy Nation set off from Dover at around 12.15am and was seven-and-a-half hours into the swim when he decided he had to stop.

The Knebworth resident is said to have been suffering neck pain due to the sea conditions, having broken his neck in a fall last June.

He is now recovering in Calais, France, having completed around 136 miles of his 147-mile swimming challenge – which started on July 19 at Teddington Lock in Middlesex.

The epic challenge, which has already seen Andy swim along the east coast to Dover, has been in aid of Herts Air Ambulance and the Herts MS Therapy Centre in Letchworth GC.

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Charlene Redmond, community fundraiser for the therapy centre, said: “I have spoken to Andy who is now in Calais. He say he is fine, but bitterly disappointed that he was not able to complete the swim all the way to Calais.

“The swell, waves and cold made for very difficult swimming and slowed him down, which meant putting more strain on his already injured neck. On a positive note he says at least he managed the English Channel but just not the French Channel.

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“We here at the Herts MS Therapy Centre are very proud of what he has achieved despite him not finishing the channel swim. After all, how many people after having broken their neck a year ago would still attempt to swim 147 miles to raise funds for charity?

“And he did do around 136 miles of the 147 miles - how much more dedicated and determined can one be?”

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