Swimmers urged to take the plunge for The Shakespeare Hospice - The Stratford Observer

Swimmers urged to take the plunge for The Shakespeare Hospice

FUND-RAISERS are again preparing to take the plunge for The Shakespeare Hospice.

The charity’s ‘Bare It For The Bard’ Open Water Swim event returns on Sunday August 7.

After the success of last year’s inaugural event, 60 swimmers will, once again, brave the open waters of Spot-On Wake in Wootton Wawen to raise vital funds for The Shakespeare Hospice.

The event was created in memory of Alcester mum, Sharne Phipps, who was looked after by the hospice before her death from cancer in August 2020.

Richard Phipps, Sharne’s widower, reflected on what life has been like for him and his two children, Gracie, 13, and Finn, five, since last year’s swim.

He said: “Looking back I cannot believe just how incredible the event was. Raising awareness of the Hospice and the incredible work it does and being able to raise over £8,500 surpassed all expectations, to the point where saying “thank you” doesn’t seem to do it justice. It also gave people the chance to remember and celebrate the life of Sharne, something which friends hadn’t been able to do due to the pandemic.

“After the event life didn’t really slow down but did throw up a lot of new situations. I don’t think until Finn started school and the event was officially over did I ultimately realise I was a single parent. This realisation completely overwhelmed me and honestly made me withdraw and evaluate my situation. I am very fortunate that I was able to return to the Hospice and get some further counselling to make sense of what life was throwing at me.

“Being a parent to a five year old boy and 13 year old girl, life is nothing short of eventful. I was worried about Finn starting school and played so many scenarios in my head about not being there to help him in difficult situations. The reality is that I really did not need to be worried because he loves school – which makes my life so much easier.

“Gracie is my inspiration. She was very apprehensive about the swim last year, because it meant facing a lot of love from people who were there to show us what Sharne meant to them. She faced it with all the courage and love that her mum would have been proud of. “This also opened a lot of feelings that she had suppressed over the years and again the Hospice were there to catch and support her.

“Without the hospice, life would be a lot tougher. Without friends, family and 60 swimmers, last year helped other families who have to walk the same journey as us. You cannot ever put a value on that.”

This year’s “Bare It For The Bard” will include activities on the day to keep the whole family entertained including the one-of-a-kind Aqua Jungle (ages 8+) and demonstrations from some of Spot-On Wake’s seasoned wakeboarders.

Details about how to enter this year’s swim are available by visiting TheShakespeareHospice.org.uk/event and scrolling down to Open Water Swim – Bare It For The Bard.


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