A Colne dad is going to great lengths for a charity close to his heart by swimming 22 miles - the equivalent of the English Channel.
Matt Gartside, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes four years ago, is completing the Swim 22 challenge for Diabetes UK over the course of three months.
Having found out he had the condition in his late forties, Mr Gartside decided he was not going to let it take over his life and began focusing on his health. He took up swimming, and within months he had lost two stone.
The 51-year-old photographer, of Hall Street, said: “When I was diagnosed with Type 1, I found it difficult at first but knew that keeping fit and healthy would be vital if I was to manage the condition.
“When I found out about the Swim 22 challenge, it made sense for me to take part. Swimming helped me take a hold of my condition when I was first diagnosed and continues to do so now.
“Being fit and exercising helps my quality of life so much and is an integral part of controlling my diabetes. I’m hoping that taking part in the challenge will help raise awareness of diabetes, as well as funds for Diabetes UK.
“Many people struggle when they are diagnosed and there are stigmas attached to diabetes which can make it harder. Diabetes UK offer support to people living with the condition as well as making sure that the right information is out there.”
The Swim 22 challenge, which runs until May 22nd, can be completed at a local pool, either as a solo swimmer or as part of a team.
Matt, who is completing the challenge at West Craven Sports Centre, has already completed 12 miles.
To find out more about Matt’s challenge visit swim22.diabetes.org.uk/swim-22/matt-gartside
For more information on Swim 22 visit www.diabetes.org.uk/Get_involved/Fundraising-events/Swim22