Saving Beth

Lousie Hamblin, Teddington Resident

I held a life long belief that sport was not for me, and then during a routine medical I was told that my metabolic age was 74, a rude awakening for a 61 year old. This coincided with the beginning of lockdown and it became clear that being overweight and a habitual worrier would not serve me well.

Some months previously I had joined the Surrey Outdoor swimmers and had begun swimming in the Thames. As a way of coping with lockdown I began walking to Teddington lock and swimming daily, at first very short swims and then as the river temperature began to climb from 6 degrees centigrade I extended my time in the water. The river was  a place where I began to find peace and physical well being and I began to think of her as Dr Thames.

For some time I had been fund raising for a friend who has Ehlers Danlos syndrome and needs an urgent life saving operation.  I thought about doing a sponsored swim but didn’t have the confidence.

As my swims grew longer and more adventurous, my self belief and resilience also grew and in July I decide I would announce a 61 km swim in aid of Back Beth (https://www.gofundme.com/f/saving-beth-life-saving-surgery-fund).

Having made a public commitment I had to start . My first swim, 21st of July , started on the Thames next to Hampton Court and was 900m and at the time of writing ( mid August) I have reached Henley swimming 36km in total,  my longest swim to date is 3 km.

The health benefits have been amazing, I have lost 20 cm from my waist and whereas I used to hate walking up hills I now relish the challenge of a brisk uphill walk. More importantly I have now got body confidence and a positive can do attitude .

Life at 61 is good, I have made some fantastic friends in Surrey Outdoor swimmers and can’t thank them enough for all their support and encouragement on the way.

Beth’s fund is now gathering momentum and if you can help by making a small donation to her go fund me page you would be making a huge difference to an amazing young woman’s life.

A small note of caution, river swimming has risks and it is inadvisable to swim alone or without having an induction into open water swimming.