A Twickenham man is honouring his late father’s passion for swimming by taking to the Thames and swimming 365 miles in a year.

Andy Spencer, who helps run the family business Hammerton’s Ferry, began his mile-a-day swim on the first anniversary of his father’s death last November.

The 31-year-old is using the charity challenge to deal with his grief after losing his much-loved dad, Francis Spencer, to bowel cancer.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Francis Spencer passed away on November 29, 2020Francis Spencer passed away on November 29, 2020

Andy said: “Our world fell apart - the kindest, most genuine of any man I’ve ever met left this world.

“He was our wonderful dad, a doting husband, and a fun-loving gentle grandad.

“He was 74, he was fit, he was healthy.

“Cancer stole him from us, and we had to watch as he fought this painful, heart-wrenching disease.

“I needed a goal, a purpose to help with my grieving process.”

Andy is raising money for cancer charity Macmillan because of the support they gave him and his family when they became round-the-clock carers for Francis during the end of his life.

Francis refused to stay in hospital and the family agreed that he should spend the end of his life at home with them caring for him – which is where Macmillan stepped in to help and support them.

He is halfway through his challenge and has already raised over £30,000 for the charity.

Andy added: “I am not a swimmer but swimming in my dad’s once happy place, now mine, brings me a greater comfort.

“Swimming is therapeutic, swimming gives me a release, swimming keeps my dad’s memory alive for us all.

“Some days I love my swims, some days are painful, some days I struggle to prepare myself mentally and physically, but I am determined to complete my challenge and swim day in and day out for this amazing charity.

“I’m halfway through but I’ve got this, I must have inherited this from dad because he never quit, he never gave up on anything.”

Andy has set up a Just Giving page which you can donate to here.

You can find out about Macmillan's charity swim challenges here.