A GROUP of plastic surgeons have braved the English Channel – taking on exhaustion, container ships and jellyfish to raise £3,000 for vital research at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

Seven reconstructive surgeons and trainees from the Headington hospital took it in turns to plunge into the cold water in relay, together swimming 22 miles across the English Channel.

The team spurned wetsuits and instead smothered themselves in lard to keep out the September chill.

Plastic surgery trainees, from left, Greg Thomas, Marc Swan, Sally Jay, Paul Stephens, Paul Poynter Smith, Bill Townley and Sophie Dann, supported by head of plastic surgery Henk Giele, front, set out to raise funds for their research into skin cancer, genetics and hand surgery.

Mr Poynter Smith said: “We swam as a relay team, each swimming for an hour at a time before rotating to the next member of the team.

“We are raising money to fund on-going research within the department into melanoma skin cancer, Dupuytren’s disease and hand surgery.”

Starting at 5.30am from Shakespeare Beach, in Dover, on September 18, it took them 12 hours and 41 minutes, to reach France.

To donate to the team’s effort go to justgiving.com/ paul-poynter-smith