Wiltshire Publications

Boxing Day lake swim for charity

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A MOBILE phone shop manager from Westbury braved Boxing Day  temperatures to swim the town’s Eden Vale Lake  – in memory of his father and to raise funds for the RNLI.

Charles Parsons undertook  the same chilly challenge his father Ray did on Boxing Day 1979 – which was the 28th coldest winter on record.

He has already doubled his target of £500, raising over £1,100 for the RNLI, thanks to an auction held by his friend Gary Collins  and other members at Trowbridge’s Beehive Southwick Cricket Club.

Charles told White Horse News, “I was swimming in dedication and honour of my father, Ray Parsons, who passed away earlier this year from cancer. Ray swam in the lake in the winter of 1979 on Boxing Day. It was the 28th coldest winter since records began. He donned his wetsuit and braved the extreme cold conditions. He climbed into the lake, breaking the frozen surface and continued out into the lake breaking the ice. He raised a large sum of money for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

“Ray was an accomplished diver and swimmer. He was also a leading seaman and quarter armourer in the royal navy.

“The swim I did was very cold, sub zero conditions. It was easy at first but the cold kicked in after about three minutes and my legs started to tire. In the end, I was only using my arms to get back. My feet were dead for a good half an hour after the swim. 

“I just want to thank all my friends and family for their support. 

Raising money for the RNLI, Charles said, “As a charity, the RNLI depends on our donations so it can go on saving lives and keeping us and our loved ones safe. RNLI lifesavers are our lifeline – they’re the lifeboat crews who provide 24-hour search and rescue right around the UK and Ireland; the lifeguards keeping watch on 240 of the busiest beaches in the UK and Channel Islands; and the RNLI safety teams and educators working tirelessly to stop people getting into trouble in the first place.”

To donate to Charles’ fundraiser go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charles-parsons19.

Pic 1, Charles and Ray

Pic 2 and 3, Ray swimming in Eden Vale Lake on Boxing Day 1979

Pic 4, Ray warming up after his swim 

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