Seven members of the British army have started one of the world's toughest open water swimming challenges in support of families in Suffolk.

Personnel from the 35 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search) began their 21-mile relay across the English Channel on Monday in a bid to raise vital funds for family support charity, Home-Start in Suffolk.

Predicted to finish on Thursday - depending on weather and tide - each swimmer will take it in turns to swim the Channel for an hour in rotation until the team reaches France.

One of the 'Super Seven', Sapper Eliza Clarke, said: "We're taking on a big challenge, but the whole team have always strived to achieve and we wanted to give ourselves the incentive when things get tough during the challenge to think about all the good the money we raise will do for families.

"I wanted to support Home-Start because it's a charity I feel passionately about. You really see the direct impact being made."

Fundraising and marketing manager for Home-Start in Suffolk, Ali Watson, said: “We are so grateful to the team for choosing to support Home-Start families with this inspirational challenge.

"We fully understand the effort and training that they have all had to undertake in order to be ready for next week’s swim and we couldn’t be prouder.

"With so many families needing support and with referral numbers continuing to rise to unprecedented numbers, fundraising activities such as this make a huge difference.”

Home-Start in Suffolk is the county’s largest family support charity.

The organisation has been operational for more than 23 years and were awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2021.

They offer struggling families throughout Suffolk practical help and emotional support through their network of over 280 volunteers.

Those supported face a wide range of challenges including mental health issues, disability, physical health problems, poverty and domestic violence.

You can donate to the team by following this link to their fundraising page..