Entries for the Suunto Great London Swim are closing soon. Enter at: Greatswim.org/London

A doting husband will take on a huge 5k swimming challenge in support of his wife who battled breast cancer.

Tony Sambridge, from Chingford in Essex, had his world turned upside down when his wife Gaille was diagnosed with breast cancer in the middle of 2015.

When selfless Gaille was diagnosed with the disease, she kept the news a secret from Tony until the day after her youngest son Thomas was married to his wife Lauren but Gaille was determined to not let the cancer define her and to go on and beat the disease.

Tony told his sons Justin and his wife Sarah, Alex and his new bride Becky, Tom and Lauren the devastating announcement the day after Alex and Becky were married in France.

Gaille went through an operation to remove the lump on her breast the week before Alex's wedding . This was followed by gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions .

She was finally given the all-clear in June 2016, the date when their youngest grandchild Sophia was born also. Tony was so inspired by Gailles resolute determination to combat cancer that he decided he wanted to take on a challenge to raise awareness about the disease.

The family were helped by Macmillan Cancer Support through Gaille's treatment, so when Tony decided to sign up to the Suunto Great London Swim on Saturday 1 July, he knew they would be a worthy cause to support.

The event will be Tony's first open water swim and he aims to take on the 5k distance as a way of thanking Macmillan for their support and to play a part in the fight against cancer.

Tony, 64, said: “Gaille was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2015, a secret which she kept until the day after our youngest son's wedding as she did not want the day to be affected by her bombshell announcement.

“After the wedding, she sat me down and told me the news which was a complete shock, nothing ever prepares you to be told that your wife is going through something horrendous and you cannot do anything to take it away from her.

“The words hit me like a hammer but her determination and focus to beat her cancer during her treatment was something that left me feeling so inspired and in complete awe of her.

“During Gaille's diagnosis and treatment over the eight months of chemo and radiotherapy, we were supported by Macmillan, who were always there if we had any questions, concerns or needed information of the treatment.

“Finally Gaille was given the all-clear last June and I decided that after seeing Alex take on fundraising to raise awareness about cancer, it was my turn to get busy.

“I had a relatively high cholesterol rating of nearly 5.8 and after visiting my doctor I decided that I was going to change my life so I started swimming two evenings a week to get fitter.

“It then made sense for me to sign up to the Suunto Great London Swim but I wanted to challenge myself so I set myself the 5k distance.

“It will be a big effort for me but I am determined to take it on as Gaille has gone through so much herself over the last couple of years.”

Tony will join 2,000 other swimmers for the Suunto Great London Swim, which takes place in the Royal Victoria Dock. The open-water swim event offers a range of distances to suit all abilities, from half a mile up to the newly added 5k and 10k swims for those looking for the ultimate challenge.

Swimmers will be able to enjoy all the action in the heart of the Capital at this unique open water event in the shadow of the 02, the Emirates Air Line and ExCeL London.

Tony, added: “I started swimming in October 2015 as a way of helping my cholesterol but I only ever did this in an indoor pool.

“I know that taking on an open water swim will be a lot more challenging as there are a lot of different elements against you.

“I have never done anything like this before but thanks to my training, I have managed to lose over 1 stone and my cholesterol level has significantly dropped to below 3.9 now.

“I feel a lot better in myself and it will be really special to have the support of Gaille, my sons and their wives and our six grandchildren there when I take on the swim.”

To support Tony's fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support, visit his fundraising page.

Entries for the Suunto Great London Swim are closing soon. Enter at: Greatswim.org/London