Thirty-five swimmers have braved the Solent to raise more than £14,000 to support Isle of Wight residents living with cancer at Wessex Cancer Trust’s Swim for Hope event.
They set off from Hurst Point in Hampshire and swam 1.3 miles across the Solent to Colwell Bay on the Isle of Wight as part of the charity’s 40th birthday celebrations. All of the swimmers completed their challenge, many of whom were taking part in their first sea-swimming event.
The event was organised by Mike Sizer-Green, the manager of Wessex Cancer Support’s Newport-based Isle of Wight Cancer Wellbeing Centre, and Michelle Salsbury who volunteers and fundraises at the Centre. Both took part in the event.
Mike was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013 and used Wessex Cancer Trust’s Daisy Bus to get to his appointments at Southampton General Hospital.
He says he is immensely proud of all the swimmers:
“Swimming the Solent is a huge challenge and I’ve been overwhelmed by the dedication and determination of every swimmer who put in hours and hours of training to ensure they would get across. It’s even more poignant because many of our swimmers have their own experience of cancer and know that stretch of water represents a major hurdle if you have to cross it for treatment on the mainland.
“Organising an event like this was a huge undertaking, and we’re particularly grateful to everyone helped get our swimmers across safely; particularly Dave Lutas of the Isle of Wight Canoe Club, the Freshwater Independent Lifeboat, Needles pleasure cruise company, Associated British Ports and the various safety kayakers who escorted the swimmers.”
Support kayaker, Jo Hanks, says it was a privilege to escort the swimmers and volunteer for a charity that does so much to support local people living with cancer:
“I worked as a colorectal cancer nurse specialist for 15 years and saw first-hand how invaluable the Daisy Bus was for patients travelling from the Island to Southampton for their treatment. I’m thrilled the event has raised so much money to support local people who really need it.”
You can still make a donation to the event by visiting: Donate – Wessex Cancer Trust
Photos courtesy of Adam Pearson, APV Services.
Watch the Swim for Hope video here courtesy of Shariff Moossun of Aerial ViewSwim for Hope 2021 on Vimeo