A father-of-five, who admits he is built for comfort rather than speed, is preparing to submerge himself in a mile-and-a-quarter-long swim to the Isle of Wight for charity.

Andy Pointer, 44, of Gastons Road, Malmesbury, aims to raise £4,000 with three colleagues for charity and prove his 17-stone frame (18.5st before training began) can handle the challenge.

His venture comes six months after his 10-year-old daughter, Amy, completed 1,455 lengths of her local swimming pool (23 miles) to raise £1,000 for Help for Heroes.

“We are not athletes; I’m built for comfort rather than for speed,” said Mr Pointer, who works for ACP Solutions Ltd in Nailsworth.

“I started this whole thing as an 18-and-a-half-stone guy and I’m now 17 stone and shrinking.

“It’s not for the faint-hearted but I don’t think we will be dodging ferries, although the prospect of being in cold and unfriendly waters does give it a twist.

“I do often ask myself why do we do these crazy things but it’s because they are there to be done and causes are out there and need our support. It’s a great achievement.”

Mr Pointer will swim the Solent – the equivalent of 90 lengths in a 25-metre pool – alongside his boss Lynda Platts, from Nailsworth, and colleagues Camilla Wood-house from Newbury and Saman-tha Long from Bath, who will be returning from her wedding in Las Vegas to take part in the swim.

The team will be alongside 26 other swimmers when they leave from Hurst Castle on the mainland at 6.45am on Sunday, July 29, and swim to Colwell on the Isle of Wight in aid of The Samaritans.

The event will annually raise 50 per cent of funds the Samaritans needs to keep its phone line service operating. To follow and sponsor Mr Pointer in his fundraising bid, visit http:// uk.virginmoney giving.com/team/ thesplashers