'Custard Man' tastes defeat in Channel swim challenge

source: http://www.eveshamjournal.co.uk

A BRAVE cancer survivor who dreamed of swimming the English Channel had his hopes dashed just a mile from the finish line.

Dave Granger of Norton set off on the 21 mile swim at 5.30am last Friday in a bid to complete a lifelong ambition and raise £2,000 for the Cyclists Fighting Cancer charity, of which he is a trustee.

The 53-year-old was faced with a tirade of bad weather from the start and had to contend with medication which made him ill and the side effects of his treatment for throat cancer which causes painful ulcers when in contact with salt water, leaving him unable to swallow solid food.

With his wife Sandra by his side in the support boat and fuelled by custard and energy drinks, ‘Custard Man’ - an affectionate nickname given to Dave when he adopted the same strategy for cycling the entire Tour de France route - held his own in the water for 16.5 hours.

But, just a mile from the beach, he was forced to give in to exhaustion.

The father-of-two and stepfather-of-one said he was “bitterly disappointed” not to have reached the finish line but was proud of his achievement.

“There were five crews that went out that day and only one made it,” he said. “I was just feeling so exhausted. I was running parallel with the beach which I could see for four hours.

“But I enjoyed the whole thing. I got half way and thought, this is doable, but the tides were against me.

“I’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support. Snips hair salon has been fantastic. The messages of support I was receiving on Facebook too, the crew were relaying them to me and they were just amazing. It was very emotional.”

Dave has achieved £1,200 of his fundraising target and can still be sponsored via cyclistsfightingcancer.org.uk