Knebworth grandfather given the go-ahead for English Channel crossing attempt

Andy Nation is set to attempt to swim across the English Channel at midnight

Andy Nation is set to attempt to swim across the English Channel at midnight - Credit: Archant

A GRANDFATHER who has overcome a broken neck to take part in a 147-mile swimming challenge has been given the go-ahead this afternoon (Wednesday) to cross the English Channel.

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

Andy Nation was told at 3.30pm that he can attempt the swim from Dover to Calais in France, and is due to set off at midnight. The swim is likely to take 14-18 hours.

It is the final leg of the Knebworth resident’s journey after he took to the River Thames at Teddington Lock in Middlesex on July 19.

Swimming along the east coast, the 63-year-old reached Dover on Friday, July 26, and had been waiting to be given the green light from his boat pilot.

The swim is in aid of the Herts MS Therapy Centre in Letchworth GC and Herts Air Ambulance.


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Speaking to the Comet prior to setting off for Dover, Andy, who was babysitting his granddaughter when he received the call, said: “It’s all systems go and it’s all gone a bit manic around here.

“I’m still not sure if I’m going to wear a swim suit which I’ve been wearing so far as if I don’t I’d get the swim validated if I’m successful.

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“How long it takes is dependent on how fast I go and what the tide, wind and waves are like. It will be a lot rougher than a swimming pool so I think 14 to 18 hours is realistic.

“I would like to thank all my sponsors and donors. It’s a huge undertaking for me so hopefully people will reflect that in their donations.”

Andy sets off at midnight so he doesn’t “swim into rocks” at Calais and will be accompanied by a boat at his side which will help guide the way.

You can follow his progress by logging on to http://cspf.co.uk/tracking/235018589

To sponsor Andy, who had hoped to take on the challenge last year but fell and broke his neck a couple of weeks beforehand, visit www.teddingtontocalais2012.org.uk

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