A MAN from Worcester has lost seven and a half stone to be able to fit into his wetsuit ahead of a six-kilometre open water swim in Devon.

Stuart Kilmister, who works for Defra, decided to take part in the 2019 Bantham Swoosh on July 6 after seeing it advertised on Facebook.

He said: “I looked at it and thought ‘that seems a good idea’

“Along with doing the swim, it is helping me to lose weight and so far I have come down from 35 stone to 27 and a half since November.

“When I signed up I noticed there were around 800 natural athletes and physically fit people doing it so it will be interesting to see how I manage it.

“I have had to lose the weight because there were no wetsuits we could find that would fit me.”

Mr Kilmister, 48, is taking part in the Bantham Swoosh with his friend Andy Green, and the two are training with the help of Su Jackson and Fran Merell at the David Lloyd Gym in Worcester.

The duo are trying to raise as much money as possible for Level Water, a charity which provides free swimming lessons to disabled children, and have already beaten their initial £1,000 target.

Mr Kilmister thanked his support network for their help during the training, saying: “Without Fran and Su and so many others, this wouldn’t be possible as they make sure I am sticking to the training and the diet plan.

“Having this many people supporting Andy and myself is really important as it really does keep us going when the training gets tough and we have bad weeks.”

The pair have done their training in a swimming pool, and the swoosh will be their first taste of an event in open water.

Mr Green, of Bradley Green, near Worcester, said: “One of the hardest things has been building up the endurance over long distances, we have both had to learn how to swim six kilometres stage by stage.

“The swim is called the swoosh because the tide kicks in towards the end, meaning you get pushed along for the last stage of the swim.” Mr Kilmister has set up a fundraising page where he posts updates on his journey, it can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuart-kilmister.