Diversity swims for GRT: the Nov challenge starts

Norfolk and Suffolk swimmers are doing diversity dips throughout November to raise funds for some organisations run by and working with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities, and at the same time to raise awareness of the issues. Here are posts and pics and support from Days 1-7.

We are having some fun doing so as well, in a month that can be cold or gloomy and when it is sometimes hard to motivate yourself for a swim or dip. The grandmother of one of the fundraisers, Milly, who describes herself as “Romani and proud”, kindly agreed to give us some lucky numbers as inspiration for our swims: 3, 5, 7, 21 and 30.

We invited others to join in wherever they were, to swim or dip, to support with messages and to make donations if they could. We were joined by swimmers across Norfolk and Suffolk, and from further afield, who had dips in rivers, lakes, the sea, pools and lidos, a pond, and on a tether in a garden pool!

You can join in or send messages in our public  Facebook event, donate on the Sponsor me page, and read about the issues in this post about solidarity with GRT.

swimmer/s or swim spot

More photos and swims below

Summarising the first seven days of the November swims:

It’s been a team effort to come up with the ideas, get the page sorted and the wonderful articles and promotion. Of course it wouldn’t have been the same without Milly’s lucky numbers to get everyone’s imaginations going, they certainly seem to be doing the trick this week! We have had such a great response with such generosity and so many people joining in and it’s very early days! I look forward to lots more swims (with a sprinkling of apprehension as the weather cools!) and getting to know more of our swimming community in the process. You are all marvellous! Anna

By 7 Nov nearly £500 had been raised!

The event started off very enthusiastically on 1 November:

Thanks so much to everyone for your swims and donations today! A very promising and positive start to the month. You are all wonderful xx Jess

Day 1 of our Diversity Swim challenge November 2020 and we have raised £100 of our £1200 target already! Thank you to those of you who have donated. If you can’t donate please don’t worry. Enjoy a swim if that’s your thing or just enjoy the pictures. Anna

The first donation:

Tina E: good luck!! I have made a small donation! Anna: Thanks so much Tina! This week’s swim has your name on it! Jess: Thanks T you are a gem x

1 November

swimmer/s or swim spotKerry: First swim. 1 mile, in my garden tied to the pergola


swimmer/s or swim spotTina: That one was for you Jess for being the amazing person and swimmy friend I met was it three years ago! Wow! So pleased Anna joined me! Full fast and furious! We managed three widths each and took a break between each to catch our breath!! Fabulous swim thank you!

swimmer/s or swim spotAnna: Excellent swim. The sun came out on my bike ride over, great to see Tina after several weeks of Social media contact only. Glimpsed an otter on the way there, fabulous swim then a wonderful 5 minutes watching 3 otters on the river. One sat and ate a fish which I thought I’d video’d. But hadn’t :(  It swam under the bridge then came back and sat on a clump of greenery in the water eating and looking at me. Marvellous start to the month. So glad I peeled myself off the sofa today!

swimmer/s or swim spotImogen: OK, so that’s the first November solidarity dip – 3 minutes (10.6 degrees). Not that tempting, deep pond once you get in, but full of mulched leaves, as was costume after! Very local to me, so might be ok for lockdown dips. Great to get started, so far inspired to do a dip a day.

swan in riverTina: Here goes! Have done very little swimming in the last 6 weeks having been away from home! I’m using the lucky number 3 to do 3 widths or lengths depending how I feel when I get in the water! Brrrr i think it was 16 degrees last time I was in.

…3 widths of the river it was!

2 November

beachKerry: Sea swim today. Tad chilly but certainly more pleasant than the North Sea.

swimmer/s or swim spotImogen: November’s second swim was much lovelier and much more fun than yesterday, at Swanton Morley Falls (mill pool) with three local crazy ladies, Justin, Zoe and Josie. Some sunshine and nice chats after. Water was lively and clear, 15 minutes at 13.2°, 15 is the sum of the first three lucky numbers, three, five, seven.

swimmers afterJustine: Aaahhh, beautiful Swanton Morley you never disappoint! After some initial early morning hesitation due to the high winds we all enjoyed a wonderful & positively balmy swim here this morning. Lovely to meet Imogen. Josie and Zoe & enjoy chats in the intermittent sunshine afterwards. Thank you for joining me ladies.

3 November (lucky number day)

swimmer/s or swim spotJess: Sunrise swim this morning with Anna and Robin. Chilly, but saw a kingfisher!

swimmer/s or swim spotImogen: Day 3, 5 minutes, 10.5 degrees, at Ickburgh, very refreshing! Weir is one to keep out of, when water is this high, and care at other times. I hid behind a tree when the bin lorry came by – in case they thought I was odd – regret that now, as would have given them something to talk about!

swimmer/s or swim spotNot one, but two swims today! Second swim, 5 minutes (11.1 degrees), sunset at a lake in Breckland. It was beautiful, as usual. Also, this was swim 150 this year! 5×30, so very lucky!

4 November

seaTina: Yesterday’s swim was curtailed by these waves! Trying a fast current this morning, might be swimming on the spot but I’ll see how it goes!

Well covered 3, 7 and 21! 7 mins upstream against a fierce current, floated 3 mins back to the start, stayed in a total of 21 minutes! Chuffed with that nice little numbers xx

swimmer/s or swim spotImogen: Swim 5 on 4 November, with Amy, 9.8 degrees, about 11 minutes, so lucky number 21 if you add them! near Rockland Broad. Fabulous if cold morning, early start, scraping frost off car to go for swim soon after sunrise!

swimmer/s or swim spotSwim 6 of the month, with Clare, 11.1°, 6 minutes. It was lovely to do a sunset swim to finish the day that started at sunrise, and lovely to swim at the Breckland lake, and with Clare, in case it is the last time for a month! Owls hooting as it grew dark.

5 November (lucky number day)

swimmer/s or swim spotJess: Felt like a very cold swim this morning but a couple of kingfishers egged us on! Feel great and set up for the day, thank you Anna!

jacuzziAmy: Three pool swims Wednesday, getting in as much as I can before they close, at Beccles Lido, Bannatynes and Victory. It was going to be three cold water swims, but the jacuzzi was just too strong a draw. 7.1 km swum so far towards 21km. 7th swim this month towards 30 swims.

swim spotImogen: 7th swim of November, 5 November, 3 minutes in the water, 1st day of lockdown, almost the closest water I can find, just a few minutes away. Beautiful late afternoon and evening. Coldest water yet, 8.2°.

6 November

swimmer/s or swim spotShaun looking cosy! …afterwards!swimmer/s or swim spot

swimmer/s or swim spotJustine: I was very happy to be asked to take part in swims to raise awareness of charities supporting Gypsy Roma & Traveller communities. Another marginalised community who have been disproportionally affected by Covid. My swim yesterday included two of the lucky numbers given as inspiration by Milly, grandmother to one of the fundraisers. Air temp as taken from my car dashboard on my way to the swim was 3.5 and the water temp was 7.4. My coldest swim so far! Maya Angelou said, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their colour”.

swimmer/s or swim spotImogen: Frost on the grass, mist on the water for Swim 8 of Nov, at Swanton Morley. 7.4 degrees, 5 mins (nearly), and 3 mini swooshes. You can see how cold I was after, but not for long in the warming sunshine. A beautiful day. swimmer/s or swim spotBy chance a couple of crazy ladies came for their swim as I was getting dressed, Justine and Mollie, so I stopped to take their photos.swimmer/s or swim spot And then I met two other local women by chance, Lydia and Eleanor, who came along for a dip after I got out. Now are fully fledged crazy ladies! Lovely to see it so well used by winter swimmers.

7 November (lucky number day)

swimmer/s or swim spotJess: Lucky number 3! Third swim of the month on 7th November. It just so happens to be Robin’s birthday too, so triple lucky!!! And just realised it’s his 35th so extra extra lucky! Glorious sunshine to warm us up afterwards too.

swimmer/s or swim spotAnna: 7th of November swim. It was busy along the river Bank! Another beautiful day. I live only a few minutes away by bike so will be my winter spot I think!

beachAmy: Lucky 7th of November swim at Sea Palling

swimmer/s or swim spotImogen: Trying out a new place, not very suitable as I found my feet sinking a foot deep into mud. So just a paddle up to my waist today – feet in the water for 10 minutes, temperature 11° (which added together makes 21), on the seventh day of November dips.

tree foliageJustine: Yesterdays sunny autumnal swim with Mollie at Swanton Morley. My coldest so far 7.4 degrees!! I wasn’t in very long at all as I was still feeling slightly battered from a tricky tooth extraction the day before!

Claire: We would love to have some screen shots of the positive comments…my colleague Orla is the hate crime Worker at GATEHerts and as I am sure you can imagine she is often overwhelmed by negative comments some positive ones would be a welcome change x

Some positive responses. To asking in a swim group if people would support the initiative:

“I definitely will – in my view there is not enough understanding and solidarity for GRT or between communities more generally”

On sponsorship page

“Thank you for raising awareness of this really important issue.”

“This is what the world needs right now! Well done.”

“Amazing challenge in November for a great cause though!”

“Great idea – will be swimming with you in spirit xx”

“What an important cause”

Read about swims 8-14 November, Diversity swims for GRT: the Nov challenge part 2

And about the third week here, Diversity swims Nov Part 3 for GRT

And here for Diversity swims Week 4 for GRT

Final two days here, Diversity swims for GRT 29 & 30 Nov 2020

A report of the month in the Eastern Daily Press, Swimmers in Norfolk tackle challenge to support travellers

The challenge was reported in Travellers Times, and on the Outdoor Swimming Society website, Noticeboard section.

You can join in or send messages in our public  Facebook event, donate on the Sponsor me page, and read about the issues in this post about solidarity with GRT.

Discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities has been called the last acceptable prejudice. Even people who consider themselves anti-racist don’t always realise the hurt and harm that can be caused, by repeating stereotypes such as blaming the communities without any evidence for litter or for travelling as some have done during this busy and fraught summer.

These communities face a wide range of issues and discrimination – which range from hurtful remarks to material issues affecting all aspects of life. Campaign funds are needed to tackle these deep inequalities in society, improve lives, and provide advice.

Norfolk and Suffolk swimmers who set up this challenge were brought together by a shared love of open water swimming and a commitment to standing up against racism. We are grateful to everyone taking part and supporting and showing solidarity in all the ways!

Photos usually by person named in post next to photo.