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Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch is no stranger to a freezing soak – he undertook the Ice Bucket Challenge six times – and now he’s urging Londoners to plunge into east London’s docks for charity.

The 41-year-old took the challenge to benefit the Motor Neurone Disease Association and he’s asking people to help its work in the London City Swim in the Royal Victoria Dock at 4pm on Friday (September 22).

Cumberbatch said: “I remember very vividly how so many millions of us did our bit to help raise awareness of MND and support those people living with the disease.

“A fantastic amount of money was donated but scientific research is incredibly expensive, and my friend Prof Stephen Hawking and his team want to raise money to analyse the genomes of 15,000 people with MND, including thousands of people living in the UK with the disease.

Royal Victoria Dock

Royal Victoria Dock

“This work will get the world closer to finding a cure to MND. To help raise money please take part in the London City Swim, happening in east London’s Royal Victoria Docks on Friday.”

The star went on: “I am told the water is tested every two weeks against EU bathing regulations to ensure perfect purity for open water swimming – apparently it’s slightly salty but really clean and pleasant to swim in.”

The sponsored swimming event is held annually and has raised millions of pounds towards research and awareness in aid of motor neurone disease.

Cumberbatch on our screens again

Cumberbatch is back on our screens in The Child In Time on BBC One (September 24, 9pm). The one-off drama, based on the Ian McEwan novel, is set two years after the three-year-old daughter of Stephen Lewis (Cumberbatch) went missing.

The author is struggling to find a in his life as his wife has left him while his best friends Charles and Thelma have moved to the countryside.