On Sunday 14th July, Jill Palmer, funeral arranger at Lodge Brothers Windsor, took part in a 1.4 mile swim between Boscombe Pier and the main pier at Bournemouth, in support of the British Heart Foundation. Jill recently arranged the funeral of a young mum, and wanted to raise awareness of heart disease in the young.
Over 2,500 people descended on Bournemouth to take part in the swim. The weather was glorious (86 degrees) and conditions were perfect for a sea swim.
Here is Jill’s account of the day:
“The atmosphere was great, with strangers talking to one another and day trippers wishing us all the best. I went with the attitude that I just wanted to make it to the other end – but many of the swimmers were competitive. The experience swimmers were at the front and swimmers like me, were at the back. Despite the heat we were advised to wear wetsuits, as the sea was 48 degrees, a lot colder than what it was on the beach. Although over 300 swimmers swam in swimsuits alone!
“We were given bracelets and swim hats with numbers on, which my husband very kindly pointed out was for identification purposes if we didn’t get back, and therefore suggested I leave all my jewellery with him!
“Fortunately, the safety measures in place were excellent! As well as life dinghy’s there were 20 lifeguards on jet skis, 30 or so on boogie boards and buddies swimming alongside lone swimmers.
“I could not find any one mad enough to join me on the swim, so my swimming buddy was Jason, a rather good-looking blonde guy who certainly motivated me to complete! My local church had even put me on the prayer list, although I’m not sure how I was meant to take that.
“I’d like to say I finished in good time, but sadly I was near the back of the field. By the time I staggered onshore my husband had begun to get anxious. He had run towards every short person who came ashore with a red hat, only to realise it was not me!
“Despite my exhaustion it was a great feeling to be awarded my medal.
“The things they do not tell you about swimming in the sea:
- It is saltier than you think – after 500m I was dehydrating. Carrying a water bottle is quite hindering!
- Talking to another swimmer is difficult when you are trying not to drown!
- Even when the sea is calm, novice swimmers can suffer seasickness!
- At the glorified photo finish you will be covered in slimy seaweed and mush!
“Things gained during the swim:
- 1 brown arm
- 2 red knees
- 2 red feet
- Bruises all down my right leg
- 3lb in weight! Probably due to the amount of sea water I drank!
“The total amount raised was £180,000, which was a fantastic result. I was proud to be able to contribute, but next time I will leave it to the more experienced sea swimmers and stick to the pool and the lakes. I think my next charity event will be in aid of the RNLI considering I have nearly had to use them twice!”