A retired policeman from Newquay has reached the halfway point in his mammoth million metre swim for charity.

John Griffin, aged 70, has clocked up 500,000 metres swimming at the Newquay Leisure World Pool and Truro Leisure Centre in aid of Cornwall Air Ambulance.

He aims to swim 40,000 lengths of the swimming pool to raise £1million for the charity’s Heli2 Appeal, which is raising £2.85million to bring a second AW169 helicopter to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, to help boost the resilience and capability of their service.

John is swimming 4,000 metres a day (160 lengths), six days a week, for a year to reach the target. That is 1,000 kilometres, or 621 miles in total, which is the distance from Newquay and well into Scotland.

John reaches the 500,000 metre mark ( )

John said: “I’m definitely getting stronger, a couple days a week I train with the Crantock Surf Life Saving Club in the pool.

“I’m doing sprint sessions and am in the middle of the group with 30-year-olds.

“The hardest side is the mental side, dragging yourself out of bed each day, Wednesdays are the hardest day, where it feels like swimming in treacle.”

Having started on January 2, John visited the Cornwall Air Ambulance headquarters to celebrate reaching the halfway point.

John said: “I’ve always enjoyed swimming – to the extent that my wife thinks I’m a dolphin.

“This takes my swimming to a whole new level. The challenge is the mental resilience required, but I’m determined to do it and raise as much money as I can in the process because I know, from my own first-hand experience, how vital the emergency services are.

“The air ambulance can get the critically ill to hospital as quickly as possible and none of us knows when we might need them. That’s why I’m doing this and why every donation helps.”

“I’ve worked with air ambulances in my previous existence when I was working in London, I grew up in the Lake District and the air-sea rescue helicopter used to work with the mountain rescue teams I was associated with. Living in a rural community, if you’re off the beaten track you’re not going to get a road ambulance to you quickly, and the ability to get you to hospital quickly in an air ambulance is so important, so it was an easy choice to make of who to support.”

Businesses and organisations are being encouraged to help highlight his fundraiser and people are being invited to join him in his swim. Schools are also being invited to get involved to help raise funds.

People can support John by donating to his Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/page/john-griffin-1710870062969