Ded­i­cated swimmer com­pletes chal­lenge

Wilmslow Express - - NEWS - ABI­GAIL O’LEARY abi­ @Abi­gailOLeary

BIG-HEARTED An­drew Guil­foyle has com­pleted his swimming marathon of 22 miles, de­spite suf­fer­ing dev­as­tat­ing in­juries after be­ing hit by a car at 10-years-old.

An­drew was left wheel­chair bound and suf­fers learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties as a re­sult, but re­fused to let his dis­abil­i­ties get him down.

The 27-year-old de­cided to take on the chal­lenge of swimming the equiv­a­lent dis­tance of the English Chan­nel last Septem­ber, and took to the pool with his carer Phil Holmes.

And after three months, char­i­ta­ble An­drew, from Wilm­slow, had com­pleted 1,400 lengths of the pool.

An­drew was left in a coma for 18 months and un­able to speak for a num­ber of years fol­low­ing the ac­ci­dent.

But de­spite be­ing left with limited use of his limbs, An­drew’s swim man­aged to raise £1210 for spinal in­jury char­ity, As­pire.

After com­plet­ing the chal­lenge An­drew said: “I felt ex­hausted when I fin­ished, it was re­ally hard work swimming all the way, but I never ex­pected to raise that much money at all.

“I love swimming be­cause it’s good for me and it’s good for my heart.”

An­drew’s fa­ther and sis­ter were there for his fi­nal push to­wards reach­ing his English Chan­nel tar­get, and cheered at the side of the pool when he touched down for his last length.

An­drew added: “They were clap­ping on the side, and I think they’re very proud of me.”

An­drew and his carer Phil spend six hours in the pool ev­ery week, but char­ity fund-rais­ing is still top of the agenda for An­drew, who now wants to take on another chal­lenge.

Phil, said: “I think he was ini­tially a lit­tle bit daunted by how far it was, but he thor­oughly en­joyed it. He gets a real buzz out of it.

“I was al­ways in the pool with him, but when it wasn’t busy I let him swim alone, but I was there to support him if it was crowded and helped him turn around.”

Phil started car­ing for An­drew four years ago and after much en­cour­age­ment and support, the pair now make the per­fect team in the wa­ter.

He added: “When I first met An­drew he was be­ing dragged around the small chil­dren’s pool, and he wasn’t get­ting any­thing from that.

“But in four years we have gone from there to here which is fan­tas­tic.”

Phil added: “The day he fin­ished it, he was a bit ap­pre­hen­sive when he came to me and said, can we do another one?”

An­drew Guil­foyle swam 1,400 lengths to help peo­ple with spinal in­juries

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