Christmas Swim Challenge FAQs


Take on the challenge

Go for a swim at any time over the Christmas season and raise money for our life-saving research.

Sign up for free and you'll receive:

A free t-shirt and bobble hat

An Online Giving Page

A digital fundraising pack

Sign up now

The Christmas Swim Facebook Challenge is a fundraising ask, challenging you to go for a swim or dip at your local swimming pool, sea or lake during the festive period, on a date of your choosing, and to fundraise for Cancer Research UK.   

Please remember to also read our Christmas Swim safety advice before undertaking the challenge. 

No! The day that your swim is of your choosing, you might like to find a date to go with friends or family, or you may choose to go on another convenient day, the choice is yours!  You can take part any time before or after Christmas, up to the start of January.

You’re free to choose a time and date across the festive period that is convenient for you to take this challenge on. Cancer Research UK won’t be organising a specific event for this, but feel free to share pictures and videos of you doing this challenge on the Facebook Group and your social media!  

Please wear a brightly coloured swim cap during your challenge to help retain body heat and help with visibility. You may also like to wear other items of clothing, such as a wetsuit to aid buoyancy and make you more comfortable in the water. If in the outdoors (sea, loch, lake, etc) we recommend neoprene gloves and booties.  Ultimately you should wear what you are comfortable with. More guidance around equipment and clothing when swimming in open water can be found via the external online sources mentioned below. Don’t forget to wear your Cancer Research UK bobble hat and t-shirt afterwards too to warm you up!

There are many hazards to swimming in a reservoir therefore we advise against using them. 

  • Reservoirs can be deceptively deep with unexpected drops which aren’t visible from outside of the water 

  • Reservoirs are often in isolated places, making it difficult to receive immediate help 

  • Hidden pipes and machinery can be hazardous 

  • The sides can be steep and difficult to get out from 

  • There may be hidden obstacles, rubbish, broken glass, etc that people have discarded, and may cause injury 

The minimum age for participation is 16. Anyone under this age should not undertake the Christmas Swim Challenge.

Once you have signed up, join the Facebook Group dedicated to this challenge here. Click 'Join Group'. 

Once you're in, you can complete a form to get your free bobbly hat, plus an Online Giving Page. You’ll then receive an email with tips for completing the challenge, as well as being part of a group full of other inspiring fundraisers where you can find out anything you want to know about the challenge. 

  • You can can visit the webpage to register here to register for a Giving Page, fundraising pack and free t-shirt and bobble hat.

  • Once you've signed up, you will receive a confirmation email and be prompted to join the Facebook Group 

To join the Facebook group directly, visit: 

Please check local advice and choose your locations carefully ensuring the water is safe and clean to enter. In open water we recommend checking ahead for any local sewage alerts and avoiding these areas. If in doubt, consider going to your local pool instead.

Sure, if you don’t have Facebook, you can set up a Giving Page using this link and collect sponsorship that way.   


We trust you! You don’t need to provide evidence that you’ve completed the challenge to us. However, updating your friends and family on your fundraising page is important! 

There is not a minimum amount of fundraising that we set for participant, but we recommend you set a reasonable target of raising about £100.We know that the current economic climate is tough, this target is a guide and any money that you raise will go towards our vital work in helping to beat cancer. 

We'll provide a digital certificate at the end of the challenge. Unfortunately, we cannot provide medals, however, you will be able to sign up for your FREE Cancer Research UK bobble hat and t-shirt ahead of the challenge starting. 

There are many online sources which provide advice on entering open water. Please find a number of trusted sources below. You must take responsibility for your own safety and ensure that comply with all guidance when dipping in open water. Your safety is the number one priority, so if you have any concerns, please do not enter the water. There are many other ways that the challenge can be completed without entering open water.