Rick Pulvertaft swims the English Channel - East Cheshire Hospice

Rick Pulvertaft swims the English Channel

The name of the Instagram page set up by Rick Pulvertaft reveals a clue about the demons he has faced most of his life.

Called the_sober_salmon_swims2france, it counts down to his Channel swim next July in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

Rick, from Macclesfield, gave up alcohol nine months ago, fearing the addiction would ruin his life like it did for close relatives.

His father Dr Tom Pulvertaft (59) died of liver cirrhosis in 1996, and he has also lost older sisters Kate (56) and Janthea (49) to alcoholism in the last five years.

Rick Pulvertaft who is swimming the Channel in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.  

His nephew Kavan died in 2019 after three years in a coma after he tried to take his own life.

Rick, a kitchen designer and salesman, lost both parents by the age of 23.

Mum Dee (61) was due to go to the Hospice in 2009, but died of skin cancer before getting there.

Rick said: “Mum’s death was the only one not directly linked to alcoholism. Alcohol has devastated my family. It’s been hard watching members of my family slowly kill themselves.

“The feeling of helplessness is even harder and I was slowly heading in the same direction. I’m 36 now and have probably been drinking since 13.

“I decided I was going to stop drinking last December. I had a choice to stand up and face my problems, or carry on covering my feelings of hurt and pain with whisky and Stella Artois.

“I chose to hang up my pint pot, face my emotions and even go a step further and challenge my mind to all-out war to be better for my family.

Rick Pulvertaft who has set himself a sporting challenge after giving up alcohol.

“I’m nine months sober. Emotions are difficult sometimes, but no-one died from an emotion. People always say ‘I’d die for my family.’ I’ll say ‘I’m going to live for mine.’

“I couldn’t have done it without my wife Sarah, who’s been so supportive and reminded me I’d always wanted to swim the Channel. That was the catalyst.

“Gym and swimming keep me out of the pub. I’m the salmon swimming upstream. I want to be there for my two daughters Isla (10) and Ginny (2).

“I’m supporting the Hospice who were there for us and ready to help. The work they do for the families of loved ones with life-limiting illnesses is a light in this world that needs our help to keep shining.”

* To sponsor Rick visit justgiving.com/fundraising/rick-pulvertaft.

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