£1million aim for Knebworth man's charity swim to France

PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 October 2010

Andy Nation

Andy Nation


SWIMMING 147 miles from London to Calais would be enough of a challenge for anyone... yet to raise £1million for charity in the process would take an effort of heroic proportions.

The signature of Mike Perham

Step up to the plate Andy Nation, who has made it his aim to swim a length of the River Thames and then the Channel in a bid to raise the seven figure sum, which will be split between the Hertfordshire MS Therapy Centre and the Herts Air Ambulance.

The Knebworth resident, 60, is aiming to take the plunge at Teddington, in 2012.

In the meantime, he is raising funds in which ever way he can.

He is asking residents and businesses to sign his one-off autograph book and make a donation, while appealing at schools to get involved via sponsored swims, as well as signing the book.

The WHT's coverage after Andy's last big swim

When asked about why he took on the mammoth swim, he said: “The last time I did the Thames swim someone said why didn’t you carry on all the way to France! So I decided to take that on – it’s a personal challenge.”

He added: “It’s all good fun, age is only a number; you’re only as young as you feel.”

The former president of the Welwyn Round Table, chairman of the Welwyn 41 Club and secretary of the club, Andy is no stranger to raising funds for charity and believes £1million is not an impossible target.

“It depends if it gets a really good run,” he said. “If people see it as a really worthy thing and we get the right publicity and we get more and more signatures in the autograph book it could.

“I think this [the swim] will be my hardest challenge yet.

“There will be many issues along the way and that’s why I have a good team to support me.”

The owner of several businesses, who is developing his own property, while practising a mile daily at the Odyssey Health and Fitness Club’s swimming pool, added: “It’s hard work. I wish there was an extra 24 hours in a day.” Originally from Ilford, Essex, the father-of-three and grandfather-of-two is initially aiming to reach £400,000, which will cover the mortgage for the Hertfordshire MS Therapy Centre. The rest of the cash will be given to the Herts Air Ambulance.

“I chose the therapy centre because it’s very worthwhile and I made a promise and I don’t go back on my promises.

“The Herts Air Ambulance is something that is local and I feel can benefit anyone and everyone at the time when you most need it.”

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