You would be forgiven for thinking most people who have undergone open heart surgery might want to start taking things easy.
But Robert Hudson is not most people – and his latest achievement is a gruelling nine-hour swim across the length of Windermere.
By his own admission, the operation to repair his aortic valve three years ago, at the age of 45, has changed his life.
Now a qualified triathlon coach, the joiner from South Shore has set himself a series of fitness challenges to raise money to support the work of the doctors and nurses who saved his life.
With his biggest challenge to date, a 10-mile open water swim in the heart of the Lake District, he has raised more than £1,500 for the Blue Skies Charitable Trust.
“The finish line party with all my team and friends and family truly made my dream come true,” he said.
Supported by his navigator and mentor Graham Brook, he completed the swim from Fell Foot to Low Wray in nine hours and 12 minutes.
Mr Hudson had already lost two family members to heart failure when he was told he needed the surgery.
His dad William had a heart attack in 1980, aged 55, and his brother Richard was 52 when he collapsed playing rugby in 2000. Mr Hudson added: “Richard was the team captain for Garstang, and they were playing at Millom. Richard just felt unwell came to the pitch side and collapsed. He died on the spot.
“You can probably guess how much hurt I was feeling – devastated doesn’t even come close.”
When he woke up from his surgery, Mr Hudson decided to lose weight and get into shape.
He started training for the Fleetwood Triathlon and is now a qualified instructor and helped found the Blackpool Athletics Triathlon Squad.
He added: “I also want to show other cardiac patients that life does not have to come to a standstill after surgery.
“I have a strong lust for life and fitness plays a big part of my new life after my open heart surgery.”
He has raised thousands of pounds for Blue Skies, Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s charitable trust, since his operation.
Donations to his JustGiving page for his latest endeavour have topped £1,500.
n To support his cause, visit www.justgiving.com/Robert-Hudson5