Knebworth grandfather on 147-mile swim challenge prepares for English Channel crossing

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 has overcome a broken neck to take on a 147-mile swimming challenge from England to France now has just 21 miles to go.

Andy Nation on Dover beach with friend and support team member Tanya Warren

Andy Nation on Dover beach with friend and support team member Tanya Warren - Credit: Archant

Andy Nation, who set off at Teddington Lock in Middlesex on July 19, reached the port of Dover on Friday having swum along the east coast.

The grandfather-of-five had intended to take on the challenge last June but fell and broke his neck in the lead up.

Andy was given a bottle of champagne as he reached the beach and is now recovering ahead of the final 21-mile leg across the English Channel to Calais in France.

He will attempt the crossing when he has permission sometime between August 7-14 on a spring tide, and will get the call when conditions are right.


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While he waits at his home in Knebworth, Andy will continue to promote his two chosen charities – the Hertfordshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre in Letchworth GC and the Herts Air Ambulance – in a bid to gain more sponsorship.

The epic fundraiser has not all been plain sailing so far, with Andy forced to walk from Vauxhall to Thames Barrier in sandals after it was considered too dangerous to kayak along a section of the river as originally planned.

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He has also suffered a bout of food poisoning and was too unwell to swim the following afternoon, having otherwise averaged around six hours in the water a day.

About the experience so far, Andy told the Comet: “The conditions have been very variable from clean to large clumps of seaweed floating on the surface and brown foam which has been very unpleasant.

“I’ve seen indescribible things floating down the Thames which I’ve managed to avoid. What I didn’t avoid last Wednesday and Thursday was jellyfish and was stung on my wrists and across the face.

“But you get through and I’m looking forward to the crossing now.”

To sponsor Andy visit www.teddingtontocalais2012.org.uk

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