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One thousand swimmers to brave Windermere chill

The 2014 event. Credit: ITV Border

More than 1,000 people are set to brave the cold by swimming in Windermere this weekend.

The Big Chillswim Winter Swimming Gala attracts competitive swimmers from countries including Australia, the USA and Russia, and is billed as a major boost for tourism in the Lake District.

The success of the Chillswim is having a hugely beneficial effect on local tourism at a time of year when visitor numbers are generally relatively lower."

– Ben Berry from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues

The three day regatta began yesterday, with the World Open Water Swimming Association Awards, but the big event, the Winter Swimming World Cup, takes place over the weekend.

It includes the 1km British Winter Swimming Championships.

The swimming races began at 9am this morning, and finish at 5pm this afternoon, before a prize giving ceremony.

They resume at 9am on Sunday morning.

We have seen a dramatic rise in competitors since the event started in 2013, about 250 swimmers back then to over a thousand this year. And it's even more gratifying to see swimmers from all over the UK and Ireland joined by so many international contenders, all of which has helped us secure World Cup status.

With the stunning Langdale Pikes as a backdrop, I can't think of a better or more scenic venue for an exciting weekend of highly competitive swimming. We hope that local people will flock to the shores of Lake Windermere to support the event and cheer the swimmers on throughout the weekend."

– Chillswim director Colin Hill

Verdict rules fireworks deaths were accidental

The jury in the fireworks inquest returned conclusions that the two deaths were accidental.

They ruled that the explosion rendered both victims unable to exit the store as fire consumed the outbuilding and resulted in a fatal level of carbon monoxide.

Andrew Coates, 41, and Polly Connor, 46, died following the explosion while preparing fireworks for a wedding at Ecclerigg near Windermere in August 2014.

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Fireworks inquest witness heard ten bangs 'and then all hell broke loose'

Witness, John Simpson, owns the property and grounds where two bodies were found near firework storage at his home wedding reception.

John Simpson said he'd asked his partner of small hobby business, Stardust Fireworks, to prepare a low noise display for the end of his wedding.

Shortly after walking past the fireworks store with his photographer, around 10 fireworks 'pinged' off followed by a loud bang and then he said "all hell broke loose".

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The inquest continues.

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