PANIC attacks, torrential rain and as a stubborn tug boat owner were all challenges that a team of swimmers had to overcome during a gruelling 32 hour swim across the Channel.

Six women carried out the relay swim took place on August 21 and 22, including Pewsey woman Penny-Marie Newcombe.

Ms Newbcombe was nearly prevented from completing the challenge after suffering from a panic attack while in the waters.

However in the mind over matter challenge, she continued her leg and the team completed the challenge in 32 hours 25 minutes and 16 seconds.

The group set off at 7.28 am on August 21, starting from Shakespeare beach in Dover and swimming over to Wassant, France before jumping straight back in for the return leg to England ending at St Margaret's, Dover.

Ms Newcombe was the first swimmer to dip her toe into the cold waters and said: “We swam one at a time and it had to be very regimented, I went first.

“When we were coming back through the North shipping lane there was a tug boat pulling an oil platform and they refused to change course despite there being swimmers in the water so we had to divert. It meant that we lost our advantage and in total it set us back four and a half hours.

“I had a panic attack on my last leg of the swim so I completed it doing backstroke. I think the sheer exhaustion, cold and the boat fumes caused it but I just had to grit my teeth and do it.

"If one of us had failed to complete a leg or we swam in a different formation the whole team would have been disqualified. At around 1.30pm on the Tuesday I began to see the mist over the white cliffs of Dover so told myself I had to get in the water for an hour and do what I needed to do.”

A painful side affect of the challenge was caused by their exposure to salt water for the extended period of time. Ms Newcombe, who is also part of Pewsey running club developed blisters inside her mouth and her tongue even swelled up shortly after the challenge.

Ms Newcombe, 50, is raising money for Pulmonary Fibrosis after two close family members died of the illness and is hoping to raise awareness as well as funds.

Ms Newcombe, who is a Sports Massage Therapist for her business Fit For Purpose revealed that she is already preparing for another adventure after her sister bought her a parachute jump for her birthday.

“Swimming across the channel and back wasn’t on the bucket list but I am so happy to have completed it,” she added.