A clinical tutor at Swansea University Medical School took on a gruelling personal challenge as a tribute to his late father.
Andrew Jones’s dad Arthur, a veteran swimmer and founder member of Carmarthen Swim Club, died following complications after a car accident in January 2017.
Andrew said: “Dad had a ruptured aorta. It was repaired in Morriston Hospital but there were complications and he needed another operation. Sadly he didn’t survive that one after months of problems.
“It was a huge shock. He wasn’t just my father, he was my best friend as well as my coach.”
Andrew is an operating department practitioner, with an interest in pre-hospital and emergency medicine, and also works in Morriston Hospital’s burns and plastics centre and theatres.
He has undertaken voluntary work in Uganda, including treating gunshot and stab wounds, and training in Caesarean sections.
A former rugby player and a keen endurance sportsman, Andrew was part of Gordon Ramsay’s GR100 Ironman team in 2015 and is set to compete alongside him again next year.
Andrew pictured with his late dad Arthur who provided the inspiration for his marathon swim.
His fitness regime was crucial for his latest challenge which saw him swim from Carmarthen’s Glangwili Hospital along the River Teifi, into the River Towy to Llanstephan.
“Dad said in hospital that when he was better he would go to Llanstephan and enjoy a BLT sandwich on the beach.
“He never made it. So my plan was to do it for him and to turn a negative into a positive.”
The swim started exactly a year after Arthur’s death in the Teifi as close as possible to Glangwili Hospital’s intensive therapy unit.
“After 4km the Teifi joins the Towy and converges at the Witches Cauldron, a very dangerous place that has claimed more than one life.
“Dad swam in the Towy when he was growing up. It was his playground.
“I swam past the quay in Carmarthen, under the famous bridge that Dad used to dive off, and passed my mum on the quay.
“The swim continued to Llangain and beyond, passing the boat club. After five hours and four minutes I arrived at Llanstephan Beach.
“The total distance was 23.7k. I was delirious at the end and shockingly low on energy. But I had made it.”
Andrew described the support he had received for his challenge – which is raising money for the Vascular Society – as immense.
“It was an amazingly emotional journey that beats anything I have managed to achieve previously.
“It was cold and demoralising but I made it for an incredible man, and it was worth every tear and drop of sweat.
“I never thought of stopping because Dad would never have stopped.”
- Wednesday 12 December 2018 15.12 GMT
- Wednesday 12 December 2018 15.11 GMT
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