From sharks to nuns - check out the colourful costumes worn by Fausto Bathing Club fundraisers in Sunderland
A group of bathers took part in a fancy dress dip in the sea to raise funds for struggling refugees in Algeria.
Charity champion Michael Ward was behind the The Saharawi Splash Fundraiser, which saw members from the Fausto Bathing Club in Roker take the plunge into the bracing North Sea at Roker yesterday.Michael, who is a member of the Fausto Bathing Club, helped to organise the event as part of his mission to raise funds for Stave House in the Sahara project, backed by Sandblast Arts.
It offers music and English classes for children at a primary school in one of the smallest refugee camps in Algeria, with hopes to expand in to two more camps.
Tindouf, in the South West of the country, has five camps which are housing 173,600 refugees after the Sahrawi people became displaced by war following the annexation of their homeland in 1975.
The people - also known as Sahrawi - are still waiting for a resolution as the third generation lives in limbo, with humanitarian projects running to help educate and support families.
Michael is due to fly out to Algeria live with a refugee Sahrawi family for a week as he learns about their struggles.
The dedicated fundraiser is also in training for the Marathon Des Sables in Morocco in April and came across the Sahara Marathon as he prepared to sign up for the event.
He aims to raise £3,000 to pledge towards its £40,000 target for this year.
In support of his efforts, around 16 people from the club - which is part of coffee shop Fausto Coffee on Marine Walk - donned outfits ranging from nuns to sharks as they took part in the sponsored dip.
Their efforts raised £135 for the appeal.
Michael,from Silksworth, said: “I have been a member of the club for about six or seven months and this dip is just a bit of fun - with it being fancy dress I think people may put more money into it.
“I had no expectations on how much I wanted to raise from it and have already raised quite a lot, but I know that any amount will make a massive difference by giving the kids a chance to learn English and to also give them a childhood.”
Michael will be one of eight British competitors to take part in the Marathon Des Sables, which will see 1,000 people cover around 250km in seven days.
To donate visit: https://bit.ly/2TMitRl