Tom Daley capsizes into the Thames on gruelling Comic Relief trip from London to Plymouth

Tom Daley on the first leg of his homecoming journey

Tom Daley has set off on a gruelling journey which will see him return to his home city of Plymouth from London by foot, water, boat and bike.

The Olympic athlete is undergoing the challenge to raise money for Comic Relief.

The 27-year-old set off at 7am on Monday (February 14), when he left the Aquatics Centre in Stratford for a six-mile row to Tower Pier.

The Aquatics Centre is a place close to Daley’s heart, as it is not only where he won his first Olympic medal in 2012 but his father’s ashes are placed at the foot of the diving board there.

Daley’s diving partner Matty Lee waved his teammate off from the Aquatics Centre in Stratford yesterday. Credit: Jordan Mansfield/Comic Relief/PA

The Olympic gold medallist faced wind and rain during the row and at one point lost his nerve and capsized into the freezing Thames.

Daley said: “The rowing is the most technical part. I’ve found the rowing particularly difficult, and I did fall in quite soon after starting out on the Thames.

“I was looking out at the Thames and thought it looked horrible: the waves were going wild, and the winds were blowing.

"If I’m honest, I didn’t know if I was going to make it to Tower Bridge, but I did my best.”

Tom Daley and Davina McCall at the start line for Tom’s bike ride from the Tower of London Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Comic Relief challenge veteran Davina McCall and Daley’s diving partner Matty Lee, with whom he won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, were both present to wave him off on his challenge.

McCall, 54, said: “Watching Tom this morning has made me relive my Comic Relief challenge – it has brought back so many memories.

"I remember the excitement and trepidation and how being out on the road, or water, is never like it is in your training.”

After completing the six-mile row, Daley now faces a 60-mile cycle from London’s Tower Bridge to the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake in Reading.

Daley’s challenging journey will be documented for a special BBC One and iPlayer documentary airing in March, ahead of the return of Comic Relief’s Red Nose day on March 18.