A 50-year-old man from West Norfolk has traded in his birthday banners and balloons for an ocean current and swim cap.
Max Cumming, 50, from Terrington St Clement, chose against a birthday party to instead celebrate his 50th by swimming across the English Channel.
Swimming approximately 21 miles in 14 hours and 14 minutes, Mr Cumming managed to raise £1,500 for Macmillan Cancer Support while creating a lasting memory.
He said: “What better way to celebrate 50 years of life by giving a little bit back to people and an organisation that help so may people in desperate times of need.
“Ever since I was a child growing up in my home town of Eastbourne, my grandmother and father would talk about a local chap called Victor Birkett who swam the English Channel in 1952.
“I used to listen in awe of this remarkable achievement. Little did I know then that one day I would get the chance to try and emulate the feat of this man and swim across the English Channel.”
Having spent almost five-years gradually increasing distance, stamina and acclimatising to cold water, Mr Cumming swam from England to France wearing just a pair of swimming tucks, a swim hat and goggles.
His wife, Jane, said: “He wanted to mark his 50th birthday by creating a lasting memory and decided to do that by swimming the channel. He also thought that he would raise money for charity while doing it.
“On the day, the conditions were not perfect by any means but, he had been training for this for years, building up his times and stamina.
“I would say he was secretly pleased with himself afterwards, and he was amazingly okay. He comes from a family of swimmers. His father is a master swimmer so I think he wanted to make them proud. He managed to cross in 14 hours and 14 minutes.”
If Mr Cumming’s solo swim has inspired you to follow suit, you can find out more information about taking on this challenge at www.channelswimmingassociation.com/.