A North Devon granddad inspired by his granddaughter is going to swim the English Channel to raise money for Kidney Research UK.

Andrew Butler with his granddaughter Rosie, whose battle against medical odds has inspired him to swim the English Channel for charity.Andrew Butler with his granddaughter Rosie, whose battle against medical odds has inspired him to swim the English Channel for charity.

Andrew Butler,who lives near Great Torrington, plans to tackle the gruelling crossing in June and says little Rosie, who had to have both kidneys removed, has been his inspiration.

The 57-year-old mental health nurse has been training for his Channel swim since 2017, at the outdoor sea pool in Westward Ho! and Bude Sea Pool as well as North Devon Leisure Centre.

He said: 'Rosie was just 10 weeks old when she had both kidneys removed to save her life. She is on dialysis until she is the correct size and weight to be able to have a transplant from her father Luke, my son.

'When the going gets tough and I am hurting in training or during the swim itself, I know it is nothing compared to the courage Rosie, her parents and other families deal with on a daily basis, living with kidney disease. If I get a wobble of nerves, that thought keeps me strong.

Andrew Butler and his son Luke.Andrew Butler and his son Luke.

'Luke and Hannah are incredible parents second to none! They have faced Rosie's illness with calm courage. They're my heroes.

'As a granddad, knowing your grandchild could die is awful. You feel so helpless. Luke, Hannah and families were all thrust into an alien world. The shell shock of it all was difficult, but it pushed me to do something positive to raise money.'

Andrew hopes to raise at least £8,000 and he will also be donating to Ronald McDonalds Bristol, Care for Kids North Devon and the North Devon Wave Project.

Rosie, who will be three in June, fell seriously ill within a week of being born and had emergency surgery to remove her kidneys, after being diagnosed with the rare syndrome, Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome.

Rosie Butler playing at home, where she has to have regular kidney dialysis.Rosie Butler playing at home, where she has to have regular kidney dialysis.

The first five months of her life were spent under specialist care at Bristol Children's Hospital and ever since, she has been on home dialysis which Andrew says can be 'brutal' for such little ones.

Andrew said: 'Rosie's world has been one of daily dialysis, injections and hospital. It is relentless.

'Once she has had the transplant operation, we hope it will give her more freedom plus a better quality of life for the whole family. It impacts on them all, including her big brother Henry (aged four).

'As her grandad, it is difficult watching their little family go through so much - which is why I'm doing the swim.'

Depending on weather conditions, Andrew has a one-week slot in which he can make his English Channel swimming challenge, in the week commencing June 11. The Channel is approximately 21 miles as the crow flies, but in reality, participants cover a lot more swimming in an 'S' shape because of the tide.

If you'd like to sponsor Andrew, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AndrewButler26 .