Charity swimmer's channel challenge

TIRED but triumphant, a Felixstowe man has swum the English Channel - but without stepping foot in the sea.

TIRED but triumphant, a Felixstowe man has swum the English Channel - but without stepping foot in the sea.

Ben Andrews completed the 21-mile marathon in a lane set aside for him at the pool at the town's seafront leisure centre, supported and encouraged by family and friends.

He started at 6am and finally finished the 1,351 lengths just before 10pm, having stopped only a few times for water and food.

“It was fantastic, and I really enjoyed it,” said Mr Andrews, 28, of Capel Drive, Felixstowe.

“I am so glad I did it and it was worth all the training and preparation. It was great.

“Lots of my family and friends turned out to support me, and there were plenty of people to chat to during the day.

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“The staff at the leisure centre were brilliant and really helpful.”

Mr Andrews, an HR advisor at the Port of Felixstowe, said the sponsored swim had so far raised £1,100 for the Alzheimers and Dementia Society.

“It was a cause I wanted to support because some of my grandparents have suffered from dementia and I wanted to do something and thought raising money for research would help,” he said.

“Every year over 700,000 thousand people suffer from forms of Alzheimer's and dementia. This figure will rise to over one million by 2025.”

After deciding to take on the challenge, Mr Andrews trained for six months, regularly running and swimming to build up his fitness for the event.

“I thought swimming the channel would be something great to do but at Felixstowe Leisure Centre so I wouldn't have to worry about problems of sewage, jellyfish and cold water!” he said.

People can still donate to Mr Andrews' event at www.justgiving.com\bandrews7

Are you doing a fundraising event for a good cause? Contact the Evening Star Newsdesk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

The channel swim:

One of the most famous people to swim the channel was comedian David Walliams, who completed the challenge in ten hours and 30 minutes, in aid of Sport Relief.

Channel swimming traces its origins to the latter part of the 19th century when Captain Matthew Webb made the first observed and unassisted swim across the Strait of Dover swimming from England to France on August 24, 1875, taking 21 hours and 45 minutes.

On August 12, 1923, Enrico Tiraboschi made the first crossing of the English Channel from France to England.

On August 6, 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the channel. She did it in 14 hours 31 minutes, breaking the men's record of the time by two hours.

The fastest verified swim of the channel was by Petar Stoychev on August 24, 2007. He crossed the channel in six hours, 57 minutes, 50 seconds.

The oldest male swimmer to cross is Australian Clifford Batt, who was 67 years and 240 days when he swam on August 19, 1987, taking 18 hours 37 minutes.