A team of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers took the plunge by swimming across the English Channel for a worthy local cause.
The intrepid fundraisers completed the huge challenge to raise over £3,400 for The Christie Hospital in Manchester.
Rick Basiurski, Ollie Power, Paul Frith, Simon Coates, Nick Lees and retired PC John Power set off from Dover across the 21 mile stretch of water and reached the French coast near Calais in 13 hours, 58 minutes.
The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world and separates southern England from northern France.
All team members took part in tough training sessions before the challenge at the end of September which included open water swims at Salford Quays and sea swims in Colwyn Bay, North Wales.
They set off from Dover just after midnight in darkness guided by a boat’s spotlight and each officer took part in several one hour relay swims to cover the distance.
Ollie, Rick and Simon are all PCs in the City of Manchester borough, Nick is an Armed Response Officer for the force and Paul is a New Student Trainer based at GMP’s Sedgley Park Centre.
Ollie said: “It was a great team effort and although we were all exhausted physically and mentally afterwards it was very rewarding.
“We have all had our own individual challenges and goals in the run-up to the swim but we put the miles in beforehand in the pool, open water and sea to give ourselves the best chance of completing it.
“We were very lucky with the weather because if we had attempted to do the swim the week before we wouldn’t have been able to because there were storms and the sea was too rough.
“The team all seized the opportunity and it was a great feeling when we arrived on Wissant beach near to Calais.”
The Christie is one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and provides care and support for cancer patients and their families and research into cancer treatment.
The team decided to raise cash for The Christie because they know family members or colleagues who have battled with cancer or have been cared for at the centre.
Ollie added: “The Christie is a local organisation in Manchester which does a lot of fantastic work and we are very grateful for all the donations we have received from GMP staff and our friends and families.”
The team completed a large part of the swim in darkness and also had to navigate past jellyfish and porpoises in the water.
Paul Frith said: “We’d like to say a big thank-you to everyone who has sponsored us and to Ben Tipping at the Swim Hat Company who provided us with t-shirts, hoodies and swim hats.
“I swim a lot but this was the first time I have crossed the channel so it was a new experience and one I’ll never forget.”
Jessica Davies, Corporate Fundraising Assistant at The Christie charity, said: “We are delighted that GMP chose to raise funds for us by taking part in this incredible physical challenge.
“It’s because of amazing supporters like this that we are able to continue funding over and above what the NHS provides to cancer patients and their families. Thank you all.”
Donations for The Christie charity are still being received via the JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/le-gmp-english-channel-swim