Hove businessman Rob Starr has won an award for raising awareness of Crohn’s disease when he swam the English Channel.
Mr Starr, 44, who runs insurance and mortgage company Seico, of Goldstone Street, Hove, took part in a cross-Channel swim in August last year.
He was raising money for the Edward Starr Charitable Trust set up in 2008 in memory of his father who died in 2006.
Before he started training for the Channel swim, he had never swum in the sea. He had only paddled in it.
He was concerned that the cold sea temperatures would exacerbate his Crohn’s disease but in fact the chilly Channel temperatures helped to alleviate his pain.
Mr Starr was recognised for his efforts by the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology in London last night (Thursday 21 November). He won the Patient Award for Inspiration.
Members of the society felt that he was an inspiration to doctors and other Crohn’s disease sufferers alike after he conquered his condition, swam the Channel and even set up a charity.
He said: “I was so honoured to be in such distinguished company.
“Everyone treated me so generously with their time and showed such interest in how cold water swimming helps my conditions.
“I sincerely hope now that self-help and exercise can be given some research time as an important way of managing this illness.”
Mr Starr has also set out ambitious plans to redevelop the King Alfred Leisure Centre site on Hove seafront.
His scheme, known as the Lyrics, would turn the King Alfred into a centre for sports, leisure, cultural and arts activities.