Dedicated swimmer completes challenge
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