Fearless mum takes a dip with sharks to help domestic violence victims

This Is Lancashire: BRAVE: Tracey Snelling, left, with Julie Anneda in the shark tank BRAVE: Tracey Snelling, left, with Julie Anneda in the shark tank

A FEARLESS fundraiser braved the depths to go swimming with sharks.

Mum-of-two Tracey Snelling, from Outwood, took a dip with 35 tiger sharks, lemon sharks and nurse sharks – some as long as 14ft – and giant stingrays.

Tracey and her five courageous companions who undertook the daring challenge at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port raised nearly £6,000 for Running4Refuge, which supports women and children fleeing domestic abuse.

She had never met her fellow swimmers until the day of the dive – with the team instead getting to know each other on social networking site Twitter and publicising their fundraising efforts using the hashtag #TeamShark.

Tracey, a former prison officer, said: “Running4refuge is what brought us all together.

“It all started one crazy night in June, when the idea of swimming with sharks was born and six brave ladies came forward.

“It was an amazing experience and most of all lots of money was raised for a very worthy cause – there are many generous people out there.

“#TeamShark would like to thank everyone, not only for their donations, but for all the support we have had.”

Swimming alongside Tracey were Julie Anneda from London, Tracy Sparrow from Bristol, Katie Magnet from Surrey, Polly Poppins from Wigan and Angela Cossins from Chester.

Tracey was honoured earlier this year with the Charitable Act prize at the Tower FM awards because of her offbeat fundraising stunts.

Previously she has spent the night in a Victorian jail cell, completed a 200ft abseil despite being terrified of heights and next year  plans to tackle a 20ft barefoot walk on burning coals.

Tracey says she has been “well and truly bitten” by the fundraising bug.

She added: “The bigger the better and the madder the better – it’s all about giving something back to the community and to people who are unlucky enough to have to suffer.”

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