Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 16:22 UK

Great North Swim hailed a success

Great North Swim
Thousands of swimmers took to the waters of Lake Windermere

The Great North Swim has been hailed as a huge success by organisers who said up to 20,000 spectators visited Cumbria to watch the event.

A total of 6,000 participants took part in the one-mile open-water course at Lake Windermere.

Among them were Health Secretary Andy Burnham, actor Steve McFadden, and Olympic swimming champions.

The event at the weekend attracted a record number of participants, and provided a boost to the area's economy.

Eastenders star Mr McFadden, who completed the swim in 35 minutes, said: "The British Gas Great North Swim and swimming in Windermere was exactly what I'd hoped for, a great atmosphere, a great day out, and raising money for a great organisation, the RNLI."

Organiser, Colin Hill, said: "We had a lot of people travelling up from London and the south east and most of them stayed around the Ambleside area. There wasn't a room to be had in the area."

"The economic impact was very positive from that side of things."

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