A FORMER Cllr, now retired has completed his personal swim challenge for charity ahead of schedule.

Brian Richards, 69 of Rownhams has finished his original charity swim goal where he set out to cover 44 miles in a swimming pool over three months.

Brian took on the Diabetes UK Swim44 challenge in July this year and has been swimming at the David Loyd pool in Southampton.

As of today, (October 18) Brian has covered more than 50 miles and has raised £716 so far which is £216 more than his original set target.

The former Nursling and Rownhams Parish Cllr said: "The main reasons for undertaking the challenge were that after about 18 months with hardly any swimming I needed a physical challenge for my fitness and mental health. At the same time, I wanted to raise some money to help other people with diabetes. I think I have met these objectives and I am really grateful to all the donations I have received to date.

"At the end of September, I was asked along with a couple of other diabetics to talk to the new intake of students taking an MSc in diabetes at Southampton University and we have done this for several years now. The objective is to give health professionals some idea of what it is like living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and our experiences of the health system. From a personal point of view, I always learn something new talking to the students, and it helps them understand what it is like from our point of view as well.

"I cannot thank my GP and his team enough for the help and support I have received over the years which have helped me remain fit and healthy by managing my diabetes."

It hasn’t been an easy ‘swim’ for Brian, and he lost ten days early in the challenge due to an ear infection and doctors advised him not to swim until it had cleared. He continued: "When I decided to undertake the challenge, I really didn’t think it would be as difficult or time consuming as it has been. I didn’t bank on losing nearly 10 days with an ear infection and I reached a point where I thought it was going to be too difficult but fortunately the anti-biotics worked, and I was able to get back into the pool."

Brian plans to carry on swimming until October 22 when the challenge officially ends to see how far he can go.

For those who wish to make a donation visit https://swim22.diabetes.org.uk/fundraising/brian-richards2021