Three best friends defied their young age to complete a 5km swimming challenge.

Rosie Candler, eight, Isabella Lewis, nine, and Emi Rayner, eight, worked together to complete Halstead Leisure Centre’s annual Swimathon.

The three girls, who attend Holy Trinity Primary School, in Beridge Road, Halstead, and are members of Halstead Swimming Club, swam as a team and finished the challenge in 45 minutes and 33 seconds having swum more than a mile each.

The trio took on the Swimathon to raise money for Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK following a recent tragedy in Emi’s family.

Along with the support of family and friends, the girls have smashed their target of £700 by raising close to £3,000.

Rosie’s mum Melanie said: “The support has blown us all out of the water.

“I thought maybe the girls would raise a couple of hundreds of pounds so they have done really well.

“They are all best friends and I think doing this has brought them even closer to together.

“They are all hoping to do it again next year by themselves.”

The girls are hoping to run a stall at Monday’s May Day event held in the public gardens off Trinity Street in Halstead where they will make a final push to raise more money and break the £3,000 mark.

Anyone wishing to donate should visit