A SWIMMER with a stent, whose life has been saved on two occasions, has finally completed a pier-to-pier swim - on his third time of trying.

Andrew Wright, 64, was a member of the Clacton Swimming Club during the 1970s and took part in the Walton Pier to Clacton Pier race twice.

Back in the day it would attract international competition from America and the Netherlands in addition to famous Channel swimmers.

Unfortunately, Mr Wright never quite managed to complete the seven-mile route, something which has annoyingly niggled away at him ever since.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Despite now living with a stent, on Saturday he the determined racer again tackled the swim which has always evaded him, finally realising a dream...nearly five decades on.

“It has always bugged me I never completed the swim as a teenager,” said Mr Wright, who took on the challenge with Abigail Pawsey, Paul Brant and Tomas Motyka.

“Preparations were not good, with no sleep at all the night before the swim, but we had top-quality land support from Linda and David Hargreaves.

“They were also members of the Clacton Swimming Club in the 1970s and Linda completed the race four times and holds the women’s course record.

“But, after approximately 46 years, I have finally achieved my goal of completing the Walton Pier to Clacton Pier swim too!”

Mr Wright’s pier-to-pier swim, which took roughly three hours, was the second of three self-set swimming challenges he is taking on for the British Heart Foundation.

He has already swum from Woodbridge to Bawdsey and will next take part in the Great East Swim on September 25.

The former Clacton school student, whose family still live in the area, was inspired to raise money for the charity after battling his own life-threatening heart problems.

He added: “Most people who know me think I am a very healthy and fit person, and I have been active all of my life.

“But, unfortunately, I have inherited clogged up arteries and in 2010 I had two stents fitted after initial examinations at the Ipswich Heart Centre and Papworth Hospital.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“Following chest pains while running last September, I had another stent fitted in April this year, and the Ipswich Heart Centre discovered a 95 per cent blockage.

“So, the Ipswich Heart Centre has now saved my life twice, the first being 11 years ago, so I am attempting to raise some money for the British Heart Foundation.”

To sponsor Mr Wright, who has already raised more than £1,000, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Andrew-Wright92.