WHEN taking on a 21-mile swim for charity, the last thing you want is to end up in hospital – but that is what happened to Black Country man Damian Campbell.

Mid-way through his 14-hour mammoth challenge at Halesowen Leisure Centre – which Damian described as the hardest thing he had ever done – he felt a pain in his right shoulder.

“I was training a long time to do it and was thinking that it was going to be fairly easy, but I started having pain at about midnight,” the Quarry Bank resident said. “I was in agony and it got even worse over the last six hours.”

Although he wanted to throw in the towel, Damian continued his swim, finishing in a time of 14 hours and five minutes.

But after he completed the challenge, he was taken to hospital as his shoulder pain increased.

“I could not lift my arm,” said the 40-year-old. “And it turned out I had muscle deterioration. What happened was during the swim, my muscles deteriorated and the protein which was being produced got into my blood steam and was attacking my kidneys.

“I was in hospital in for two days on different drips. They were trying to flush out my kidneys by pumping blood into me, and it was just coming straight out.

“At one point I was in a right state and I didn’t know what was happening to me.”

He added: “It was the worst 14 hours of my life, but in the end it was worth every single issue and pain.

“The feeling when I finished was like nothing I have experienced before. I wish I could bottle it up and take a small bit of it when I have a bad day at work!”

Making a full recovery, Damian’s efforts have helped raise £1,700 for the West Midlands Ambulance first responders – the chosen charity of the Midland Centre Caravan and Motorhome Club, of which he is the junior liaison officer.

Damian added: “I was in early stages of arranging a 30-mile swim along the River Severn between Stourport and Upton, but I am going to have to leave that for somebody else to do. My long distance swimming career is over!

“I’m really pleased to have raised about £1,700 from the swim, but we will add that to the other fundraising events we’re doing, including a car boot sale and fete style event coming up this weekend.

“So we will announce our final total at our AGM in October - but I think we are looking at about £2,500.”

Rather than donating the money raised by the club straight to the first responders, it will instead be used to buy much-needed equipment – once the charity decides what it needs.