FROSTY weather kept most people wrapped up yesterday but a team of brave divers took the plunge in the River Thames to raise charity cash.

Nine members of the Swindon branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club swam from Inglesham to Lechlade to generate hundreds of pounds for the RNLI.

The volunteers, who have held the fundraiser for about 25 years, all finished the two-mile course within one hour, before going to the Trout Inn pub for some warm soup.

Organiser Jeff Bryan, 58, of Haydon Wick, who was one of the first out of the water, said: “It was a little bit chilly but it was good.

“We were expecting less flow but with the rain we had more current which helped us and it was a quicker time than in previous years.

“It is all for the RNLI which does a really important job.”

The team, which included two women, started the challenge near St John the Baptist Church, in Inglesham at about 10.20am.

Wearing dry suits and wetsuit gloves, they bobbed and paddled downstream, accompanied by a safety boat and two support canoeists.

Some of the families and fellow club members walked along the river bank to support them while others cheered them on to the finish at St John’s Lock, in Lechlade.

Valerie Nuttall, chairman of the Swindon RNLI branch, who watched the swim, said: “I admire them greatly for jumping into cold water in January.

“It’s brilliant they are raising money for us.”

Money from this year’s swim is still coming in but some individual members have raised more than £150.

For more information about joining the club, call membership secretary Bob Becket on 01256 462857 or visit