A retired police officer from Newquay aims to raise £1-million for Cornwall Air Ambulance by swimming one million metres in a year.

John Griffin started his daily swimathon on January 2 and has so far covered 355,800 metres in his bid to help the charity purchase a second lifesaving helicopter.

The 70-year-old, who was part of the national planning team for the NHS during the pandemic, is confident he can cover the million-metre distance but needs as much help as possible to reach his fundraising target.

Businesses and organisations are being encouraged to help highlight his fundraiser and people are being invited to join him in his epic swimming challenge.

Schools are also being invited to get involved.

John pledges to match the distance pupil’s cover.

He said: “I know from all my years of work with the emergency services how stretched they are, and how critical they remain to people in their hour of utmost need.

“With that in mind, and needing something that was really going to challenge me, I became aware that Cornwall Air Ambulance is raising money for a second air ambulance, so this vital emergency response service can operate 24/7 365 days a year.

“The air ambulance is vital in getting the critically ill to hospital in the golden hour. 

“Twenty per cent of the people unfortunate enough to need the air ambulance reside outside the county of Cornwall. 

“So, if people who live in Cornwall, or visit the county for work or pleasure, their donation might contribute to the helicopter being available on the day they need its help. 

“I thought about undertaking the swimming challenge to raise the funds as I was a serious swimmer in my youth.

“To swim 1,000,000 metres in a year, I have to swim 4,000 metres, 160 lengths a day, six days a week for a year. 

“That is 1,000 kilometres or 621.37 miles in total, the distance from Newquay to the furthest moist point of the Orkney Isles.

“Since I started the swim I’ve been feeling physically a lot stronger.

“As long as I stay fit and well; there is a high probability that I will complete this, but I need to get the fundraising message out there.

“I need to get national exposure similar to what Captain Tom received to reach my £1million pound target.

 “I also want to get lots of people involved. 

“They can swim with me and raise some money, which can help them as there are a lot of mental and physical benefits from swimming.

“I need people to help as much as they can, as every pound counts.”

To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/page/john-griffin-1710870062969