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Lifeguards to brave icy Lake District waters in Big Chill Swim to support friend

Sponsored swin in Lake Windermere to raise cash for an MS charity From left Shannon Costello, Bethany Ball, Michael Ruff and Hannah Costello
Sponsored swin in Lake Windermere to raise cash for an MS charity From left Shannon Costello, Bethany Ball, Michael Ruff and Hannah Costello

A group of chill-seeking lifeguards are determined to go to great lengths to boost a vital charity cause – after being inspired by a brave poolside pal.

Big-hearted Bethany Ball, 23, Michael Ruff, 48 and sisters Shannon and Hannah Costello, aged 20 and 17, will be braving plunging temperatures to take part in the team relay event of the Big Chill Swim in Windermere tomorrow, in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Sponsored swin in Lake Windermere to raise cash for an MS charity'Bethany Ball

Sponsored swin in Lake Windermere to raise cash for an MS charity'Bethany Ball

Temperatures are expected to fall to as low as five degrees on the day – but the fearless four say they won’t freeze on the big occasion – even though they won’t even be wearing wetsuits when they get in the water.

The charity champions, who all work at Haven Point Leisure Centre, South Shields, were inspired to bolster funds for the charity by Sharon Emmerson, who has wowed them all with her courageous efforts to take up swimming after being diagnosed with the muscle-wasting disease last March.

Miss Emmerson was so impressed with the group’s charity challenge that she drafted in fellow members of the South Shields branch of the MS Society to raise awareness of the event.

The lifeguards had hoped to raise £150 at the swimming event but have already smashed their expectations by bringing in a haul of more than £660.

We have been overwhelmed by the response

Bethany Ball

Bethany said: “We were all inspired by Sharon. It will be very cold on the day, but it is nothing compared to what Sharon and other people diagnosed with MS have to overcome.

“We were inspired by her to take up the challenge. We had hoped to raise £150 but the total is already up to over £660. Every pound and bit of spare change extra we can get will be amazing.”

She added: “We are now hoping we might reach £1,000. We have been overwhelmed by the response.”

Miss Emmerson has hailed the lifeguards for making waves for a charity so close to her heart.

Sponsored swin in Lake Windermere to raise cash for an MS charity Front from left Shannon Costello, Bethany Ball, Michael Ruff and Hannah Costello

Sponsored swin in Lake Windermere to raise cash for an MS charity Front from left Shannon Costello, Bethany Ball, Michael Ruff and Hannah Costello

She said: “I was diagnosed last March and my friend Anna kept pushing me to go swimming. I started to come last summer and all of the staff have been brilliant.

“I have been taking swimming lessons with Michael and it is fantastic what they are doing.”

To donate to the swim team, visit www.justgiving.com/Bethany-Ball1