Following the successful 12 Bays of Christmas held event last year, the winter sea swimming challenge will be held again to raise money for Guernsey’s Les Bourgs Hospice.
The 12 Bays of Christmas challenge encourages islanders who have continued swimming since the Summer or are seasoned year-rounders to take a dip in 12 bays listed on a map between 1st -31st December 2021.
Each bay on the list has a festively-themed name eg Bordeaux-ho-ho or Chestnuts Rousse-ing on an open fire. Following feedback from swimmers, there are a couple of changes to incorporate Fermain and Rocquaine so the ones chosen should give a variety of options for a sheltered dip in any weather. In keeping with the original 30baysin30days concept, each swimmer will receive a Christmas-themed map that has been kindly illustrated by The Tiny Island Studio.
The event was inspired by an idea dreamt up by the Marley and Sealey families who are all keen sea swimmers.
Participants will also have an option to purchase a festive grey woollen bobble hat which will hopefully help people identify others who are taking part in the challenge but most importantly also reduce heat loss when in the sea.
Safety of swimmers is paramount so only those who are medically fit should consider participating in the challenge. In addition, each participant will receive tips and information about how to stay safe during and after a cold-water swim and wearing a wetsuit will be optional. The emphasis is also for people to take part within in their own limitations so there is no target time, distance or number of strokes to swim, or even to complete all bays if conditions are not right to swim.
Kerry Marley says, “We were blown away with the community response to the 12 Bays of Christmas concept last year. Liz and her team at Les Bourgs did an incredible job in taking our idea and bringing it to life in a really short timeframe and the number of sign-ups far exceeded our expectations.
“We are very excited to see the event develop further this year, given the huge uptake in open water swimming locally, and hope the challenge will give people an incentive to continue with winter swimming whilst raising much needed funds for Les Bourgs.”
Liz Stonebridge, founder of the 30baysin30days event commented, “It has been brilliant to see such a huge increase in the number of people enjoying the benefits of sea swimming and the incredible beaches that we have on our door-step but we never expected such a positive response last year with over 600 people taking part. We are incredibly grateful to Rocq Capital for their support of the event that means that the proceeds can go directly to making a difference to our patients and their relatives. This is a fun event to take part in with friends or family over the festive period so please get signed up!”
Stuart Perfitt, Managing Director of Rocq Capital says: ”We are delighted to support Les Bourgs with this fabulous initiative. We know how popular the inaugural event was last year despite limited time and resources for planning. This year we hope to see a greater uptake with many of those who enjoy the summer version of 30 Bays willing to take the winter plunge.
“As islanders, we know that the bays are ‘open’ 365 days of the year – so too is Les Bourgs with its invaluable care and support for individuals and families. It never closes but nor does its funding requirements so please support this event and those taking part.”
Les Bourgs Hospice is independently run and does not receive any funding from the States of Guernsey. Fundraising events like these are therefore very important in helping meet the annual running costs, which are currently estimated to be £1.6m.
Participants will only be considered as registered for the event if they have signed up via the Les Bourgs hospice website, paid their registration fee and completed the online form that requires confirmation that the full terms and conditions of the event have been understood. More information about the event including how to register (£15 for adults, £5 for U18s) can be found here.