Families’ 12Bays of Christmas idea pays off for Les Bourgs

HUNDREDS of islanders braced the winter chill to dip in the sea for the 12 Bays of Christmas.

The Sealey and Marley families came up with a winter fundraiser for Les Bourgs Hospice called the 12 bays of Christmas. Image supplied. (29112435)
The Sealey and Marley families came up with a winter fundraiser for Les Bourgs Hospice called the 12 bays of Christmas. Image supplied. (29112435)

As a new fundraiser, the Les Bourgs Hospice charity event was a ‘resounding success’ with over 600 people taking part and more than £22,500 raised – a welcome boost for the independent charity after a difficult year.

Annual running costs are in the region of £1.4m., and with no States funding the independent charity relies on events such as these.

After participating in the 30BaysIn30Days summer event, the Sealey and Marley families had the idea for a winter challenge.

Swimmers dipped in 12 festively-themed bays across December, with names such as ‘Porte-let it snow’ and ‘L’Eree in a manger.’

Participation exceeded all expectations of Hospice fundraising administrator Liz Stonebridge.

‘When we were approached with the idea we knew straight away that it would appeal to the stalwarts who swim all year but we had no idea that it would be this popular,’ Ms Stonebridge said.

Seasoned year-round swimmers and those who have continued since the summer joined in, who were given advice on staying sheltered, safe and warm.

‘It has been amazing to see so many people getting involved and there has been a real camaraderie at the different swimming spots. We are extremely grateful to everyone who either embraced the concept so enthusiastically or sponsored someone if just the thought of getting in the sea was too much.’

Swimming within individual limits was advised, with no target time, distance or strokes to swim.

‘Winter sea swimming has definitely risen in popularity this year so it has been great to see so many people optimising island life and what we have on our doorstep.’

Amidst the season’s short, gloomy or stormy days there were bouts of beautiful weather for swimmers to enjoy, she said.

Optional red bobble hats allowed swimmers to recognise each other, but sold out quickly after an overwhelming response.

For those who missed out, a small stock of hats are available – contact info@lesbourgs.com for further information.

Enthusiasm for the new event means 12Bays will occur annually, with feedback welcome for future years and the possibility of introducing group swims.

  • Contact Ms Stonebridge at: liz.stonebridge@lesbourgs.com for any feedback or suggestions of how to improve the event.

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