A Sudbury man who used swimming to turn his life around will take on four huge challenges to raise funds for charity.
William Wright, from Ballingdon Street, has transformed himself from someone who struggled with drugs and alcohol for 10 years, into a fit and active athlete who takes on long-distance swimming.
Having lost his job as a result of his problems, Mr Wright sought professional help in 2015.
This helped him to channel his thoughts and energy into a healthier lifestyle.
He developed a love for swimming, competing in various open water races around the UK.
He is now preparing to take on four events in the Great Swim Series this year; the 10k Great North Swim, as well as the 5k Great East Swim, Great Scottish Swim and Great London Swim.
The 38-year-old said: “I was at a point where my life was overtaking me. I was on a downward spiral and my health suffered greatly.
“Before this, I had a relatively successful life, then I got divorced and ended up in a bed sit.
“I lost my job and my home. I had a real battle on my hands and I was in and out of rehab.
“Finally, in October 2015, I decided to take control and put my energy into something that was going to benefit my health.
“I found swimming quite meditative. When I finished a session, it was a huge thing for me to feel something so positive, like I had achieved something.
“I absolutely loved that feeling and wanted to go again.”
Mr Wright discovered open water swimming and began to take on mass participation events.
He will join thousands of other participants across Europe’s biggest open water swimming series this summer.
His home swim event, the Great East Swim, takes place at Alton Water in Suffolk on Saturday, June 17.
Mr Wright, who now works as a self-employed builder, hopes to raise more than £500 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
“I managed to raise £500 last year through fundraising, so this is something that I am aiming towards again in 2017,” he said.
“I got to know the local team at Macmillan really well and was so impressed by their dedication to cancer patients and their families.
“When I take to the open water at a swimming event like the Great Swim, the atmosphere is so great and you get such a feeling that everyone is enjoying themselves – it makes you want to return again.
“The change in me is unrecognisable and I have swimming to thank for that. I am so glad that I found a way out.
“I have been clean for two years come June, around the same time that the Great East Swim takes place.
“I managed to find a job as a builder which is going really well and I have the support of my partner Teal.”
For more information about Great Swim events, go to www.greatswim.org