A man from Hatfield has set a new Guinness World Record for the longest surviving triple heart bypass patient.

Colin Hancock was a picture of health in his 30s, when his remarkable journey towards the record began.

"I’ve never not been physical," he said. 

"When I left school and I started playing football, I really got super fit. And I went bodybuilding – I know it doesn’t show, but I did – and I must have built a strong heart from that."

He started to notice a burning sensation in his chest, which proved to be the onset of angina, and in 1977, he underwent a gruelling five-hour triple heart bypass operation at St George's Hospital in London.

"They have to take a vein out of your leg, which then has to be stitched up, and they cut through your breastbone," he recalled.

"I was going to watch it on TV, but I got five minutes in and thought, 'Nah, I won’t bother'."

The operation proved to be a success, but with limited aftercare, Colin took his recovery into his own hands to regain his fitness, first on short walks in the local area before taking up the sports he enjoyed before his operation.

He joined the Walking Football Group at Birchwood Leisure Centre, which offers a welcoming and inclusive space for individuals to enjoy the beautiful game, even if they face mobility challenges or health conditions that stop them from participating in traditional football.

"Colin's story serves as an inspiration to everyone facing adversity," said a spokesman for Hatfield Town Council, which organises the group. 

"His dedication to his health and fitness, even in the face of a major medical procedure, showcases the incredible potential within us all and the Walking Football Group, with its commitment to inclusivity and well-being, provides a perfect platform for individuals like Colin to maintain an active and fulfilling lifestyle.

"Colin journey proves that with determination, support, and a positive environment, even the most challenging obstacles can be overcome, and new records can be set in the game of life."

To find out more about Hatfield's Walking Football Group, visit www.birchwoodleisure.co.uk.