About Andy

Andy was born in Ilford, Essex, in 1949. Educated at Fairlop Secondary School , he went on to a production engineering apprenticeship with Ford Motor Company. He stayed with Ford for 12 years and was in their Customer Relations Department when he left in 1978. He took on the position of Works Manager for a subsidiary of the Thomas Tilling Group and stayed with them for 4 years. In 1982 he made a move to sales - in a financial services subsidiary of Lloyds Bank - and was his branch's top professional for 14 years. During that period he started Willrite Limited to fill his clients' needs, in which he still trades. Although his main business is now writing Wills, Andy is also involved in property development. Andy has been married to Lieva for 38 years, has 3 adult daughters - Josephine, Therésè & Charlotte, and six grandchildren - Amelia, William, Jessica, Sullivan, Griffyn and Penelope. Andy is a qualified masseur and aromatherapist. He is also a motivational speaker. He is an active member of the community, serving on committees of the local Patient Participation Group, the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan and is a member of Welwyn 41 Club (the old boys of Welwyn Round Table).

Andy at work

1970 Andy's first charity swim

The first charity swim Andy undertook was in 1970 when he swam 240 lengths of Barkingside swimming pool to raise £400 (a lot of money in those days) for a cancer charity. He had 400 sponsors at 1d (old money) per length.

If in doubt...


In 1987 Andy found he had skin cancer. This was quite a shock and as anyone knows who has survived cancer, it makes you re-think your priorities in life.

Fortunately, the malignant melonoma on his neck was spotted very early and was removed with a simple operation. After a second operation and several check-ups he was told he was clear of it. Nevertheless, it makes one realise that; today is for living!

Dec1992, Andy with co-drivers, John Orlandi and Stephen Long at the start of their World record drive around Europe


In 1982 he joined Welwyn Round Table and found this an ideal vehicle for putting something back into the community. He chaired the Club in 1988. Then, as their President in 1991, he was part of a team in the Euro Auto Challenge and finished third out of 36 teams, behind only the British Army and the Metropolitan Police. In December the same year he led another team to a Guinness World Record for the fastest time around the European capitals by car, beating the previous 7 day record by 2 clear days. And of course, with Andy's contacts, Ford Motor Company supplied the record-breaking car.

Ford Motor Company were so pleased with the results of the Euro Auto Challenge and the subsequent breaking of the Guiness World record for the fastest time around the EU capital cities by car, they were only too pleased to supply two new Ford Mondeos for the next rally; the Paris, Moscow, London rally via the Arctic Circle.

The two cars are seen here in Paris before the start of the rally.

One of his more dangerous stunts for charity whilst with Welwyn Round Table was flying on the wings of a Tiger Moth biplane whilst it flew a loop over Sywell Airfield.

Sadly, the pilot (not visible in this picture) was killed in a crash three months later.

Andy on the wings of a Tiger Moth, about to take off.

Start of London to Paris cycle ride, on Tower Bridge.

From 1995, Andy took part in the London to Brighton Bike ride every year for 10 years, raising many thousands of pounds for the British Heart Foundation. He is proud to say that even at his age he is one of the 5% that managed to cycle up Ditchling Beacon without stopping. Other fund-raising cycle rides Andy has taken part in were; London to Paris, and Brussels to Amsterdam

Andy with mate Graham at the top of Ditchling Beacon on the London to Brighton bike ride

The team at the finish of Thames Swim in 2005

The non-tidal Thames Swim in the summer of 2005 was a further test of his endurance but as always, when he starts something he always sees it through. Andy swam the 147miles in just 12 days of swimming over 14 days, including a day of sickness due to ingesting toxic waste from a boat. He covered over 17 miles on his first day and needed to keep focussed for the duration of the swim. No wonder it had never been done before! It was the equivalent of swimming 7 consecutive cross-Channel swims.

Lewis Pugh and David Walliams subsequently did similar swims in 2006 and 2011 respectively, but Andy was the first to swim the entire non-tidal River Thames.

On a trip to the Zambezi River in Zambia and Zimbabwe in November 2007 Andy couldn't resist the challenge of doing a bungee jump off Victoria Falls Bridge (also known to locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya - the Smoke that Thunders)! That's 111 metres, straight down... and then up and then down and then up... etc, etc!

Andy's reaction after the event - "What a rush!!!"

The Poolhouse

Andy takes a great interest in home improvement and believes it is good to do something constructive whilst getting exercise and keeping fit. Most of the improvements and extensions to his home, which stands on over an acre of ground, have been physically done by him (with occassional help from his family and long-suffering wife).

He is particularly proud of the poolhouse he has built in his back garden. He has personally designed it and built it (see note above). It includes pool, lounge, utility, toilets, showers, steam room, sauna, spa, plus treatment room and offices above and atop of that is an octagonal glass cupola with a glass floor. Although still not quite finished, it is an impressive building.

Following 8 years as a member of Welwyn Round Table, Andy joined Welwyn 41 Club in 1990 and is still an active member. He was Chairman in 2006/7 and was the Club Secretary for six years.

Welwyn 41 Club is always looking for past Round Tablers to become new members..

However, if you are under 40 and looking for fun, fellowship and would like to put something back into your community, why not give Round Table a try. There's one near you and who knows... you could end up like Andy (not that he'd wish that on anyone!).

In November 2009 Andy entered his first International swimming competition. He swam for Great Britain (the oldest in his age group) at the INF Internationals at Rugby. Eight countries were competing for medals; Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.

Andy finished just outside the medals in the 50m Breaststroke, coming in 4th. But in the 50m Backstroke he gained a bronze medal and the same in the 50m Freestyle. However, his best result was in the 50m Butterfly where he achieved a silver medal.

Great Britain's overall position was third, behind Germany and Netherlands.

In January 2010 Andy went indoor skydiving in Milton Keynes. It was a lot tamer than this picture makes it look as the sky background has been added. Nevertheless, it was great fun and is recommended for anyone, young or old, that does not suffer from neck, back or heart problems!

Just another one of life's fun adventures, courtesy of friends, Peter and Adrienne Lee, who arranged it as a present for Andy's 60th birthday.

Andy competed in the Nokia Thames Swim on 1st August 2010 and out of 1183 entrants he finished a respectable 633rd, considering the average age was about 34 years and most of the competitors were triathletes.

The 2.25 mile race started at Hampton Court and finished at Kingston. Andy's time was 78 minutes and 15 seconds - 3 minutes inside his estimated time. You can see here the first wave of competitors lined up ready for the start. The link shows Andy at the finish line.

Andy heads for Gold in the freestlye at Rugby

More Swimming Successes:

Andy swam for Britain again at the INF Swimming International in Zurich in November 2010 and again came away with medals. Nine countries participated. He won a bronze medal in the 50m Breaststroke, bronze in the 50m Freestyle and again won silver medal for the 50m Butterfly. He and the rest of the British team celebrated by going for a dip in Lake Zurich the following morning - 5 degrees Celcius... Brrrrr!

At the CCBN National Gala in Rugby in April 2011 Andy again qualified to represent Britain in Prague in November 2011 by winning 3 golds and a bronze.

Swimming International - Czech Republic - November 2011

Andy travelled to Prague for Great Britain. Ten countries competed for medals at the INF Gala and Andy again came away with a clutch of medals. He exceeded his previous best by bringing home bronze medals for the 50m Breaststroke and Backstroke plus gold medals for both the 50m Freestyle and the 50m Butterfly!

To add icing to the cake, Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, wrote Andy a 'Good luck' message for his Teddington to Calais swim in 2012!



Never one to be idle, Andy devised this latest venture in aid of two charities close to his heart. Why is he doing it?... "Because it has never been done before. There are few challenges that break new ground (or sea) so it makes it more interesting to be the first to do something." It will set 2 new World records.

Swim training for the event has now been stepped up and Andy is a frequent visitor to Odyssey at Knebworth, who also happen to be a very good sponsor. Whilst he doesn't train every day, when he does it is usually between 3 and 5 miles (192 - 320 lengths!). Check out the Home page to see how many training miles he has swum.


On Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday, 5th June 2012, Andy tripped on the lawn in his back garden and broke his neck leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He was rushed to the local hospital and then transferred to Addenbrooke's in Cambridge. After the traction you see in the picture left failed to work, Surgeon Richard Mannion decided to operate. He realigned Andy's vertibrae and fixed them with a graft of bone from his hip plus a titanium plate and screws. Due to Mr Mannion's brilliant work and Andy's great level of fitness, Andy recovered feeling in his arms and legs but was still very week. With his usual doggedness and determination, he started training again withing two weeks and found that his time to swim a single mile had gone from 32 minutes up to 50 minutes. Training through the extreme pain in his back and both lower arms, that time is now down to 33.5 minutes and improving month by month. The new swim start date is19 July 2013. Follow on Twitter or Facebook for latest news.

The swim was rescheduled to start from Teddington Lock at Midday on Friday 19th July 2013. Many people came along and see Andy take the plunge in front of the crowds and TV cameras. You can see the full documentary by clicking on the Youtube logo on the Homepage.