What's Happening in Stevenage blog

Swimming the Thames

A Broxbourne woman and her friends are braving the cold and swimming the murky River Thames to raise money for charity.

Harriet Sullivan, Joe Morley and Sarah Davis will be taking part in the Great British Gas Swim and will join 5,000 wetsuit-wearing fundraisers to swim a mile from Royal Victoria Dock in a bid to raise funds for autism.

Harriet said: “Everyone has found it highly amusing that I’m going to be swimming in the dirty Thames water as it’s not really me. I’ve also had people trying to tell me there will be snakes and spiders in the water to try to scare me. My husband Ben said I was insane when I told him I was doing it!”

They have been training in swimming pools and have only practiced once so far in open water at Redricks Lake, Sawbridgeworth. Harriet said, “I was absolutely petrified beforehand. I’d seen the size of the carps in the water and they’re huge, the thought of swimming with them was awful.”

The money that they raise will go to The National Autistic Society. “The charity is close to my heart as my nephew William has autism. Joe has an autistic brother too so we decided we’d do our bit for the charity and raise as much money as possible.”

Sarah will be raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society: “Other than swimming a bit in a pool on holiday I haven’t swum since school – I’m definitely not a swimmer!”

To sponsor the swimmers, go to www.justgiving.com/Harriet-Elborough-Cook.

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