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Christine Bleakley completes Channel crossing

12 March 10 16:29 GMT

The One Show presenter Christine Bleakley has completed her water-ski challenge across the English Channel in one hour and 40 minutes.

The star raised thousands of pounds for Sport Relief by crossing the 21-mile busy shipping lane to France.

On completing the task, she said: "I can't believe I've actually done it. It was really tough."

Strong winds meant the 31-year-old, who fell eight times during the challenge, faced sub-zero temperatures.

"The water was freezing and having to get up after every fall was exhausting," the star added.

"Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me along the way, it really kept me going out there."

The task had been delayed several times because of poor weather and the presenter still had to compete with strong winds during the ordeal.

'Crazy idea'

Before setting off, Bleakley had admitted to being "petrified" as she is frightened of water and is not a strong swimmer.

The star has been in training for just a few weeks and has only recently started water-skiing.

She decided to take on the "crazy" task for Sport Relief after visiting East Africa last year.

"I went to Uganda where I met Hajjara, a teenage girl carrying the weight of the world on her young shoulders," Bleakley said.

"After losing her parents to Aids, she's been left all alone to care for her younger siblings."

The star's progress was followed on the official Sport Relief Twitter feed. Shortly after she began the challenge, it said: "Seventh fall - seven miles done. Cold, hard, slog."

Messages of support for the presenter were posted on The One Show's website.

Eddie Cheever said: "You are crazy and amazing all at the same time."

And David Anthony called her "an inspiration".

Epic bike ride

Footage of her challenge will be shown on The One Show at 1900 GMT on Friday.

A whole host of stars have been taking part in sporting challenges for the fundraising event.

Former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio has just completed an epic bike ride which saw him cycle across all of rugby's Six Nations.

The 37-year-old, who is hoping to raise £1 million, said it was "fantastic to have reached the finish line" in Edinburgh.

"Everybody who has taken part deserves a beer tonight to celebrate," he added.

He was joined along the way with fellow sport stars Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan and Will Greenwood.

Dallaglio set off from Rome in the snow in February and reached Murrayfield stadium on Friday, in time to see Scotland and England fight it out at the weekend for the Calcutta Cup.

Earlier this month David Walliams, Fearne Cotton and Davina McCall completed their own 1,000 mile bike ride, which began in John O'Groats in Scotland and ended in Land's End in Cornwall.

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