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Man finishes record-breaking bid for Sealand glory – but another swimmer beats him to it

PUBLISHED: 23:55 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 00:04 21 August 2018

Richard arrives on the beach at Felixstowe channeling Scotty's spirit with the British flag Picture: FACEBOOK RICHARD ROYAL

Richard arrives on the beach at Felixstowe channeling Scotty's spirit with the British flag Picture: FACEBOOK RICHARD ROYAL

Archant

In a race not unlike Scott’s to the South Pole, two men have battled to become the first to swim from the micronation of Sealand back to Suffolk’s shores.

Richard is lowered into the sea to begin his marathon swim to the east coast Picture: RICHARD ROYALRichard is lowered into the sea to begin his marathon swim to the east coast Picture: RICHARD ROYAL

Richard Royal, from Hull, planned for two years to take the record-breaking swim from Sealand to Felixstowe.

The 32-year-old had hoped to smash the record today – but was unknowingly pipped to the post by Nick Glendinning, from Woodbridge, who completed the swim from the micronation, in the heart of the North Sea, to Bawdsey on Saturday.

Their race to Sealand bears some similarities to that of Anarctic explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his Norwegian counterpart Roald Amundsen.

In 1911, they went head to head to be the first to reach the South Pole – but Amundsen beat Scott to it.

Nick and John prepare for the swim to the coast Picture: NICK GLENDINNINGNick and John prepare for the swim to the coast Picture: NICK GLENDINNING

Back on British shores and more than 100 years on, and Nick has claimed this unlikely battle was a coincidence – but Richard disagreed and was not best pleased with his advisory.

Richard said: “There’s no way in the world that this is a coincidence.

“I have planned for two years to do this, I got permission from Sealand in 2016 to do this and the charity Aspire who I have been doing it for knew I was doing it.

“It’s been well publicised and shared on various Facebook groups.”

Nick has become the first person to swim from the micronation of Sealand to the Suffolk coast Picture: NICK GLENDINNINGNick has become the first person to swim from the micronation of Sealand to the Suffolk coast Picture: NICK GLENDINNING

Richard completed the gruelling 7.5-mile swim in just under three-and-a-half hours – beating Nick, who is 52, finished in just under five hours.

He still claims the situation was nothing more than a coincidence – and that he had always wanted to swim from Sealand to the coast.

“It’s just sod’s law,” he said. “I’ve never spoken to this person, it’s an assumption that’s occurred and he’s made.

“This is a swim I’ve been trying to sort for over two years, I attempted it in June but it had to be postponed.”

Richard atop the micronation of Sealand Picture: RICHARD ROYALRichard atop the micronation of Sealand Picture: RICHARD ROYAL

He continued: “At the end of the day it’s just an old bloke going for a long swim, followed shortly after by a younger man showing him how it should be done.”

Both men claim to have a keen interest in the off-shore micronation which battled with Britain to become an independent state.

Richard has a fascination with micronations in general after studying politics at university.

He arrived via boat to Sealand and was winched onto the platform, talked to citizens of Sealand, before getting his passport stamped and setting off.

Richard aimed to complete the mammoth swim in under six hours Picture: RICHARD ROYALRichard aimed to complete the mammoth swim in under six hours Picture: RICHARD ROYAL

Nick lived through Sealand’s legal battle with the UK government for independence and sites the micronations founder Prince Roy Bates as a hero, he arrived at the island on a boat, touched one of the platform’s pillars before diving into the sea.

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There is good news for bargain hunters in Stowmarket as a discount store bids to make a return to the town.

A ground-breaking tech company that recently relocated from Cambridge to Suffolk has been working with University of Essex researchers on technology designed to make our online data safer.

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