June 15 1966

TWO lifeboats and an RAF rescue helicopter searched the mist shrouded waters of the English Channel in the early hours for a six-man relay team from Radcliffe Swimming Club.

But the swimmers weren't in need of rescuing as they were forging their way through the icy waters of the 21 mile strait on their way to a world cross channel relay record.

Although the pilot boat drifted off course and the actual distance covered by the swimmers was 29 miles the triumphant six bridged the gap between Cap Griz Nez and Kingsdown, Kent, in 9 hours and 29 minutes.

The previous record was 9 hours and 58 minutes set by a team from London.

An SOS to alert rescuers was sent out by the crew of the South Goodwin lightship who were concerned after hearing shouts through the thick mist.

The shouts were in fact team members cheering on their team mates over a megaphone.

It was not until the escort boat drew into Folkestone harbour at the end of the record breaking swim that the team learned of the search and the radio news flashes which had raised anxiety among their friends and families.

Team manager Bill Pearce said: "We were amazed when we heard of the search. When we got near the lightship we realised we were on our way to breaking the record and began shouting at the top of our voices to urge on the man in the water.

"We are grateful to the life boat men for thinking of our safety but we were never in any danger."

Also hitting the news 50 years ago Bury teacher Brian Cosby set off with five friends in an ex-Army lorry bound for the Himalayas.

Rawtenstall athlete Peter Booth also joined Mr Cosby on the 17 week, 12,000 mile trip.

The expedition took the six men to one of the remotest regions on earth.

The team were led by 31-year-old Cliff Meredith as they tired to discover a new route up 22.000 ft high Koh-i-Bankbkhar, a mountain in the Hindu Kush region.

They were also surveying a wild area of unclimbed peaks.

The cost of the expedition was £2,000 with each member contributing £200 and a grant was received from the Mount Everest Foundation.

The team estimated that they would have to spend £400 on petrol to drive the lorry, loaded with 2.5tonnes of supplies to the Himalayas and back again.