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Big Deben Swim raises over £1k

DOZENS of hardy swimmers have helped raise more than £1000 in a bracing open water River Deben event.

Spencer, as pod leader, with his group of swimmers

The annual Big Deben Swim took place yesterday and saw 33 local triathletes brave the waterway for a 10k challenge between Ramsholt and Woodbridge in aid of the Deben Estuary Partnership.

This event is the brain child of Dr Simon Rudland, a Suffolk GP. Its purpose is to raise the profile of the DEP, through shared enjoyment of the river, whilst also raising funds to support their work.

Christine Block, Chair of the Deben Estuary Partnership, attended the day to express her thanks.

Christine said: ‘The funds raised will go towards vital wall maintenance and salt marsh regeneration.

‘We are currently working with the Environment Agency and Suffolk Coast and Heath to develop an Estuary plan. The event has helped to support this work and we are truly appreciative of everybody’s sponsorship.’

To make sure that swimmers enjoyed a safe swim, participants were grouped together in pods with a lead and rear canoeist. Special arrangements were made for people of all abilities, not just elite swimmers. Partakers were allocated to pods by way of their fitness level.

The big highlight this year came in the trim form of 19 year old Suffolk girl Fenella Foskett, who swims for Swansea Performance Centre, and was first out the water.

Fenella said: ‘The weather was really lovely which made the event even more enjoyable. It’s great to be asked to swim for such a worthy cause.’

This year, the swim lived up to its reputation as a family event, with many staying for the celebrations at ‘The Tea Hut’ in Woodbridge. The Tea Hut, as the official host venue for the swim, provided bacon butties and drinks for all involved.

Head event organiser, Spencer Wix, joined in the swim as a pod leader. Spencer said: ‘We all swam in the environment that we are trying to protect. It’s a unique and very special experience to be swimming with such great people, and a privilege to support the DEP. Even the seals joined us for part the way.’

Entries for the Big Deben Swim 2012 will start in January 2012. For online entry forms or more information and photos, the official website can be visited at: www.thebigswim.info

The swimmers before their Big Swim

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