STORMY weather could not stop a determined swimmer from making a splash to raise money for charity.

Fearless fundraiser Laura Anderton, a solicitor from Culcheth, took a plunge into the freezing cold Irish Sea to raise money for The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.

The New Year’s Day Swim takes place annually at the Bray seafront in County Wicklow, Ireland, but this year it was postponed due to bad weather.

Laura decided to brave the waters anyway because so many people had pledged sponsorship money – around £500.

The 26-year-old said: “It was the worst weather, it was pouring down with rain.

“I was really nervous going in because I had never seen waves that high so close to shore.

“I just thought I have to do it, it’s for charity.

“When I went in I was full of adrenalin which helped but when the water went up to my neck it was like my entire body shut down. I had to keep telling myself to move my arms to keep above the waves.”

The annual event has supported a number of different charities over the past 30 years.

But Laura chose to raise money for the Trust’s Home from Home Appeal after hearing about the urgent need for relatives’ accommodation at The Walton Centre.

“People really responded when they heard about the charity,” added Laura.

“It seemed to hit home to a lot of people who might have previously spent the night in a chair by a loved one’s bedside in hospital.

“I never expected the response and I was very pleased to do it.”

The appeal aims to raise £500,000 to build relatives’ accommodation including eight, ensuite bedrooms with a sitting area, laundry and kitchen, giving families the comforts of home while loved ones are undergoing lifesaving treatment.

This will be part of a new, three-storey building, scheduled for completion at the end of 2014.