A COMPETITIVE SWIMMER is raising awareness of 'silent' heart attacks after he suffered three himself during the last decade.

Gary Drew, who is also a talented mural artist, lives in Old Colwyn with wife Nicola and two children. He says his latest diagnosis came in mid-July.

Despite having no real symptoms of a heart attack, a visit to Cadwgan Surgery followed by an ECG test confirmed the 55-year-old had suffered one.

"I didn't really have any pain or any symptoms associated to a heart attack - I certainly didn't know that I had had one," Gary said.

"I had even driven to Leeds to do a job - creating a mural for a children's play area. I only really started to notice a difference in myself when I had gone swimming and began to felt rubbish. However, I assumed that I was just coming down with something.

"As the week went on I got worse and worse. I went to the doctor and after initially believing that I had shown symptoms of stress, an ECG test confirmed that I had had a heart attack.

"I couldn't believe it, as I had had no pain. I'm grateful to Dr Lansbury for officially diagnosing it when he did as it could have led to bigger problems if he hadn't."

Gary stayed in Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan. where had a stent fitted.

He believes that, now that he recognises the symptoms, he may have suffered two further heart attacks in the last ten years.

"Now that I understand it more I do believe I have suffered more than one," Gary added.

"My condition was hereditary but I think it's important to spread the message out there that this can happen to anyone. I work out and swim regularly and eat healthily too so I just couldn't believe it when I got the news."

Gary added that he is now feeling "much better" and continues to swim regularly.