Hundreds of people made a splash for their local adult and children’s hospices at the weekend.
Havens Hospices held their annual Great Pier Swim on Sunday 31st July with swimmers taking on a 3.3km open water swim from Chalkwell Beach to Jubilee Beach, just the other side of the pier, to raise money for the charity which cares for seriously ill adults and children at its two hospices, Fair Havens and Little Havens.
Over 200 swimmers took part in the challenge which is the only open water swim that passes under Southend Pier, the longest in the world. Also joining in the fun were children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old who completed the 120m Seal Swim at Jubilee Beach.
The Sipos sisters, Shelley, 29 and Lauren, 27, took part in their first ever open water swim. Their mum, 55 year old Sue from Southchurch, was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen. In November 2015 the family were told nothing more could be done and doctors gave Sue two to three weeks to live. Since February this year, Sue has attended Day Care at Fair Havens which is why the girls set out to raise over £3,000 for the charity by completing the swim.
Brad Farrer, 43, took to the water with the support of his Mum, 71 year old Joy Towne, and his daughter, Katey, 10, who cheered him on from the shoreline.
“I took part in the shorter swim last year and decided this year I’d go for the main race. I’ve been training since the beginning of the summer and am more confident in the water. I’ve done lots of fundraising events for Havens Hospices, so that’s why I’m here today, to support them.”
Father and daughter duo, Trevor Howell, 59 and Natalie Watkins, 32 made the dip together.
“I said that Dad had to do it before he turned 60 in October, before he gets too old!”
First to finish the main race in the non-wetsuit category was 17 year old Cavan Beck who completed the swim in 41 minutes and 16 seconds. In the wetsuit category, the first to finish was Steve Ham in 41 minutes and 19 seconds.
Taking part in the Seal Swim, an 120m race for younger swimmers, was Antonia Burrows, known as Annie, who is 10 years old and from Shoeburyness. Annie was taking part in the swim to raise money for Little Havens, who care for her big sister Isabella. Her mum, Hannah, said:
"I wanted Annie to do something for Little Havens after we found out one of the children we used to see at the hospice had died, she was such a lovely girl, so she signed up for the Seal Swim with her friend. Annie loves going to Little Havens, she is always running around and there's so much to do, the nurses are so good to her and Isabella. People assume a hospice is all about death, but they don’t realise it’s about respite for families like mine too. It's a real break for us all."
Events Manager at Havens Hospices, Judy Grocott, said,
“Havens Hospices doesn’t charge a penny for its care and that is only thanks to people in the community who take part in our events and come out and support us. A huge thank you to everyone who took part today, the conditions for the swim were a bit difficult as the winds were high but with the help of Chalkwell Lifeguards, Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, Thames Estuary Yacht Club, Essex Yacht Club, Chalkwell Redcaps, Southend Coastguard, Nomad Sea Kayaking and dozens of Havens Hospices volunteers everyone had a great day.”
Wetsuit Category Results
Results from the non-wetsuit race can be found here
Havens Hospices next event will be the Island to Island Mud Run on Saturday 27th August at 2pm.
For more details or to register to take part visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/mudrun2016