Intrepid Austin kick-starts his Mad Ten Challenge

Honiton man is lone Boxing Day swimmer in Seaton - to commemorate the 10th anniversary of a double heart by-pass operation that saved his wife’s life.

A lone swimmer braved a bitter -2.5C on Boxing Day and took a dip in the sea at Seaton.

Austin Stack, 44, from Honiton, aims to complete 10 challenges in the next year in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Ten years ago Austin's wife, Sara, had a life-saving double heart by-pass operation and he wants to commemorate the anniversary.

Austin thought he would start off quietly by doing his Boxing Day swim with just his wife and children watching, but, as soon as early morning strollers saw a man in shorts and a Santa Claus hat heading for the sea, a crowd gathered to give him support.

Sara said "I think he is mad, but I understand why he is doing it!"

Other events in this Mad Ten Challenge include The Grizzly, at least two marathons, cycling 100 miles, swimming 10k, running 10 half-marathons in 10 consecutive days, the Ottery 10k, The Marine Challenge and entering the World Nettle Eating Championship.