A TEAM of Scarborough divers are celebrating after setting a unique world record.
After 12 gruelling and dangerous hours the four-man squad cracked open the Champagne as they touched down on French sand.
They had just completed a Channel crossing using sea scooters, and in the process won themselves a place in the Guinness World Record book.
The expedition was put together by Heath Samples, dive leader from the Scarborough branch of the British Sub Aqua Club.
He was joined by Scarborough firefighters Paul Swales and Will Warwick, and injured soldier Peter Brooks as they set out to raise money for Help for Heroes and Scarborough RNLI.
Speaking after completing the challenge Mr Samples said: “Brilliant, we did it, it was hard work, really hard work. We are chuffed to bits.
“Pete Brooks did the final leg and landed in France. As soon as he was standing on the beach and crossed the tide line and the whistle blew, the three of us jumped off to join him and cracked open the bottles of Champagne.”
The 25.8 nautical mile dive was particularly challenging for Mr Brooks who broke his back in a bomb explosion while serving in Afghanistan.
He said: “It was brilliant, everyone did the job they were picked to do and it all went seamlessly, apart from the tides, they caught us out on one stretch, but tides can change.”
“I did about four or five hour-long shifts in the water and the back was fine. When I got onto the beach it was an amazing feeling.”
The team crossed the Channel in one hour relays, clinging to one of the small six torpedo-shaped, battery powered Sea Doo sea scooters, which managed up to 2knots against powerful tides.
Mr Samples added: “We had some close shaves with a couple of tankers.
“In one 45 minute stretch we covered only 300m because of the tide.”
The team set off from Shakespeare Beach, near Dover at 5am and touched down in the fishing village of Wissant in 12 hours, 26 minutes and 39 seconds.
Ian Coverdale, from the Scarborough branch of British Sub Aqua Club, skippered the Scarborough Sub Aqua Club’s dive rib, the 8.5m Neptune, and was “magnificent” and planned the route to perfection, said Mr Samples.
The team also thanked AP Valves, Otter Wetsuits, Weezle, APEKS and Aqua Lung for their support with diving equipment. Mr Samples is ex-RAF and the rest of the team are service related.
Mr Brooks, who has regained his fitness and rejoined 101 City of London Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) in Essex, read about the record attempt in a dive magazine and was desperate to tag along as support crew, but found himself invited to be one of the team.