A MAN has raised an amazing £8,000 to fight prostate cancer with a two-mile swim in the sea.

Cliff Marshall, 62, from Shoebury, raised cash for Prostate Cancer UK by taking part in Havens Hospices’ Great Pier Swim.

He swam from Chalkwell Beach to Jubilee Beach, Southend, in memory of a friend.

He said: “He had everything to live for. It really cut his life short.

“You can’t fail to think about the reason you’re there.

“I’m of that age, being over 50, where people are fighting it.

“Unfortunately for some, it has spread too far.”

More than 280 swimmers took part in the fundraiser last Saturday, raising £25,000 for Havens.

Some swam 900m from Three Shells Beach, Southend, but Mr Marshall, of Mess Road, Shoebury, opted for the longer distance.

Despite the challenging route, Mr Marshall said: “It was relaxing. I was thinking of battling the elements and looking at the seafront.”

Each swimmer passed directly under the pier on their way to the finish line at Jubilee Beach.

Mr Marshall also wanted to raise awareness about prostate cancer, which killed his friend within a year of diagnosis.

He said: “It’s one of those diseases, men being men, don’t go to the doctors for.

“Men don’t suffer any pain, it just develops. More often than not, it’s about treatment rather than prevention. It’s about extending life.

“You’ll have someone who has suffered from cancer. It’s about how they face it. They seem to get on with everyday life and it’s extraordinary.”

This year, swimmers were given a yellow hat to wear in memory of open water swimmer Tony Mellett, who died in May last year from a heart attack, aged 54.

Mr Mellett, a member of the Chalkwell Redcaps swimming club, had taken part in the Great Pier Swim every year since it began in 2008 and wore a yellow hat whenever he was in the water.

This year, his family and friends swam alongside his widow, Sarah, in the 900m challenge, wearing yellow caps with smiley faces, as he used to do.

To donate to Prostate Cancer UK, visit www.justgiving.com/Cliff-Swim1