FOUR brave men have taken on the gruelling task of swimming across the English Channel.

The team of swimmers including Royal Marine, Matt Mason from Accrington, completed the 21-mile swim as part of the Ocean Revival 2020 challenge, which will see Mr Mason and fellow East Lancashire Marine, Dom Rogers, along with two others, row from New York to London.

The team, including Mr Mason, Duncan Thomson, Gareth Mare, and Dan Preece, left the beach under the white cliffs of Dover at 1.11am on Saturday, covered in Vaseline and wearing nothing but Speedos, a swim cap and goggles.

And it took them 15 hours and 3 minutes to cross the channel, in 14 degree water, arriving in at the coast close to Cap Gris-Nez at 4.14pm on Saturday.

Mr Mason said: “The hardest thing was dealing with the cold and swimming through swarms of jellyfish, especially during the night when you couldn’t see what you were touching, it is a very eerie feeling not knowing what was below or in front of you.”

Mr Mare said: “We had great weather for the majority of the crossing except the final five miles, the weather and currents changed and we suddenly had a real battle on our hands, it looks us nearly two hours to cover the last two miles, battling large swells and strong winds.

“But we worked together and got there in the end.”

The team were raising money for two charities, Plastic Oceans UK, a charity the Ocean Revival 2020 rowing team are supporting, and the Farrier Foundation, a charity that supports injured farriers.

In total, the four men raised more than £5,000.

Mr Thomson said: “The Channel was a great step into realising what you can achieve.

“I fancy swimming across the Straits of Gibraltar next, from Spain to Morocco."