THEY swam through the night, battling against freezing cold conditions.
But the group of charity fundraisers failed to let the icy waters dampen their resolve to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
The 16-strong team called the Dove Dippers celebrated completing their mammoth swim yesterday at the Sparth reservoir in Marsden.
They had begun the relay in aid of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund 24 hours earlier.
And one woman who couldn’t be prouder of them is Netherton grandmother Cath Winterburn.
The group swam on behalf of the 60-year-old who is terminally ill with pancreatic cancer.
She said: “They have been fantastic. I am really proud of them and it was so emotional to see them finish.
“They battled on through the cold to get there. It’s lovely that they have done something like this for someone they hadn’t even met before.”
Cath was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in October just three years after losing her brother, Gareth, to the same disease.
She wanted to raise as much as she could for charity and enlisted the help of open water swimmer Rebecca Jarre, from Oldham.
The pair met through Facebook when Marsden-born Cath joined a campaign to allow people to continue swimming in the reservoir.
Rebecca gladly put a team together to take on the challenging swim.
She was joined by members of open water swimming group the Dove Dippers. The group took turns to swim for an hour at a time between temporary buoys.
British Waterways gave permission for them to swim overnight in the waters, helped by spotters on the banks with torches and camping lanterns.
Cath was there at the waterside cheering them on for the final few hours.
She said: “They had never swum at night before and they said it was freezing, getting down to -2°C.
“They swam for an hour at a time. Then they all got in for the final stretch. They must have been really cold but they kept going and did fantastically well.
“I’m so grateful to the Dippers for doing this for me. I went down with my family to watch them finish and gave them all cuddles.”
The team’s efforts have given a boost of over £2,000 to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund which is dedicated to defeating pancreatic cancer by funding innovative research.
Brave Cath plans to continue helping the charity with the help of friends and family. Some of them are taking part in upcoming marathons.
“I wanted to raise as much funds as I could,’’ she said. “The charity only gets 2% funding off the Government which is nothing.
“It is such an evil cancer to fight and the more money that goes to the charity the more research they can do to help. It’s important to think about the future generations.”