FIREFIGHTERS made a big splash for charity by swimming more than 2,800 lengths to support a colleague who has been battling cancer.

Nine members of white watch, based at Basildon fire station, swam the equivalent of Dover to Calais, and back again - 44 miles - to raise money for two charities supported by their “father figure” Sid McNally, 48, on Friday, November 2.

It took them just under ten hours with each member swimming between 1km and 2km each.

Sid was diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer earlier this year and had been off work for several months while he received radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

However, he is now back at the station on restricted duties.

It is hoped the team’s efforts will have raised almost £3,000 for the Firefighter’s Charity and Firefighters Aid for Children.

Sid fundraises for the two charities and is also one of the founders of the Firefighters Aid for Children.

Dan Kirk, 32, said some of his colleagues didn’t want to go near a swimming pool again after the challenge.

He said: “It was extremely tiring, everyone’s shoulders were on fire by the end but they did brilliantly.

“Even the guys who weren’t feeling as confident in their swimming did really well.”

Mr Kirk also thanked Basildon Sporting Village, which donated the use of a lane at the pool free of charge.

You can still make a donation by visiting Alternatively text CHAN48 and the amount you would like to donate to 70070.