The TV presenter was 'very frightened' in Windermere

Davina McCall felt terrified as she plunged into Windermere for the first leg of her 500-mile Sport Relief swim-cycle-run marathon from Edinburgh to London.

The TV host, 46, had to be carried out of the freezing water after completing her 1.5 mile swim on Monday and underwent testing for hypothermia from medics.

‘I was very frightened. I was just very, very tired and I had nothing. I had perfected this amazing front crawl in three months,’ says Davina.

‘I was really good at it and then I got in the cold water and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest and I couldn’t breathe, so I couldn’t put my head in the water to turn it up to breathe.’

Yesterday, mum-of-three Davina cycled from Accrington, Lancashire to Glossop, Derbyshire before trekking through part of the icy Pennine Way to Edale.

She got through Windermere by thinking of her late half-sister Caroline Baday, who lost her cancer battle in 2012.

‘I imagined my sister holding me and pulling me through it. I got so desperate I looked up to God. If there was anyone up there I needed their help,’ Davina tells BBC Breakfast.

‘I keep saying to myself it wouldn’t raise any money if it wasn’t a challenge. But by God it’s a challenge.’

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Anna Duff