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 Saturday 22nd July with swimmers taking on a 3.3km open water swim from Chalkwell Beach to City 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.
Nearly 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 100m Seal Swim at City Beach.
Friends Alex Avery, James Sinton and Nick Thomas took part in the Great Pier Swim to raise money for Havens Hospices in memory of their friend Daniel Abel who was cared for by Fair Havens Hospice.
Alex Avery said
“I’ve known Dan since we were 13 years old; we went to Southend High School for Boys together. James and Nick went to Shoeburyness High School but met Dan and I when we were about 14 years old as we all shared similar interests in music; we and a few others remained firm friends until Dan died.
“We all visited him at Fair Havens Hospice and were all bowled over by how amazing the care Dan and his family received was. Dan was cared for there for a month which allowed all his friends to come and see him, including friends from South Africa and Australia! It was really great that he could see everyone and it was a great help for us as lifelong friends to be able to see him as often as we wanted. We were always welcome at Fair Havens.
“We’ve done the Great Pier Swim before and have always enjoyed the event and fundraising for a local charity. However, this year is more poignant as we now appreciate just how vital Havens Hospices is for many people in our local community. We’ve experienced and seen first hand the incredible support and care they give at a difficult time for adults and children with life-limiting illnesses and their families and friends. So although Dan would probably laugh and tell us to stick to fishing in the sea rather than swim in it, we knew we had to band together and really push to raise as much money as possible so that Havens can continue helping other people like Dan.”
Also taking part were Barclays Business Manager Julie Overall and one of her customers Paul Cano-Lopez. This was their first Great Pier Swim, Julie explained
“We have been swimming at the pool together for about five years, but have never really taken part in a challenge like this. I wanted to raise money for Havens Hospices because I feel like it is an incredibly worthy charity and I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of my business customers, colleagues and Barclays who have agreed to match my fundraising. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far.”
There were a lot of teams and groups swimming together on the day, the JBR Tri Club, who recently had members complete a Channel Swim Challenge for Havens Hospices.
Phil Coombe, member of the JBR Tri Channel Swim Team said,
“I didn’t take part in the Great Pier Swim this year, but came along to cheer on my club mates. The conditions looked a little choppy, but having done the swim before I knew everyone would be fine as Havens Hospices put on the safest events in my opinion, you always know you’re not on your own. Well done to everyone who swam today and raised money for a wonderful charity.”
The first man to finish the main race in the non-wetsuit category was Cavan Beck who completed the swim in 37 minutes and 38 seconds followed closely by the ladies winner Lucy Bailey who completed the swim in 40 minutes. In the wetsuit category, the first man to finish was Harrison Smith in 40 minutes and 2 seconds followed by the first lady Lois Wyatt at 40 minutes and 4 seconds.
Events Fundraiser at Havens Hospices, Rikki Hamlin, 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 to support us. A huge thank you to everyone who took part today; I’d like to say a big thank you to all our amazing volunteers, EDMS Medical, the water safety team and Southend Coastguard for all their help in making this event what it is. We’d also like to thank our fantastic sponsors Olympus Keymed and Tri n Swim Well for helping us deliver this event to Southend once again. The conditions were difficult today; so well done to all our swimmers for completing the race and raising funds to help us continue ‘Making every day count’ for adults, children and their families across Essex.”
Havens Hospices next event will be the Off Road Triathlon on Sunday 3rd September. For more details or to register to take part visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/offroadtri