Tauranga's Ben O'Dea has raised more than $5000 to help keep children warm over winter by taking 76 cold plunges in a row.

The Commonwealth Games medallist has plunged into the cold ocean, rivers or lakes every day since the beginning of July to raise funds to buy thermal clothing and shoes for children in need.

O'Dea finished his final swim on September 23, raising more than $5200. He said that was enough to give $50 worth of clothing for about 100 kids.

He was thankful to Golden Sands School pupils who donated $600 from a school a mufti day "which got me over the line".

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O'Dea said most of his donations went to Merivale and Welcome Bay community centres and hoped to spend the final funds on school uniforms for pupils whose families were struggling to afford them.

The professional beach volleyballer said his winter challenge had taught him how easy it was to do what he did.

"I am proud of what I have done. It was no skin off my back," he said. "It never felt like a chore."

He had also noticed a "huge disconnect" between the different communities and was proud to have provided good quality winter clothes to children who needed it most.

O'Dea said most of his donations went to Merivale and Welcome Bay community centres. Photo/George Novak
O'Dea said most of his donations went to Merivale and Welcome Bay community centres. Photo/George Novak

O'Dea hoped others would follow in his footsteps and raise awareness in the community.

"It is not just about raising funds, but the resources that are desperately needed in the communities," he said.

O'Dea had been recovering from a shoulder injury and used the icy dips as part of his training routine to improve his breathing.

He had since been given the all clear to start training again.

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Welcome Bay Community Centre manager Anna Larsen said O'Dea's donation meant a lot to the children in the community.

"The act of generosity of his commitment to it and dedication was just amazing," she said.

"We really appreciate what he has done for not just our community centre, but for all the families who have been helped out."

Larsen said the centre had been donated enough clothes and shoes to help about 30-40 children and the centre had gifted some items to vulnerable children at Welcome Bay School.

"They were so excited," she said. "They said they knew exactly the right people to give it to."

Larsen said the clothes were not just "any old clothes" but good quality gear that would last the seasons.