Hazel Pattison, age 41 from Bristol, is taking on the Penguin Challenge and pledging to raise funds for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).
The Penguin Challenge requires participants to do 2 open water swims a month between November and March. Hazel is allowed to wear a wetsuit but has decided it will be more of a challenge to try and do 4 dips a month in a bikini!
Hazel has chosen to raise funds for CHSW having visited its local hospice, Charlton Farm near Bristol, before the pandemic.
“I always try and do something for charity each year and a few years ago I ran the Bristol Half Marathon with a team from EE and we raised money for CHSW. Because of that we got to visit the hospice and I was overwhelmed with how amazing it was. Hospices are usually associated with sadness, and I can't ever imagine what the families are going through, however I also found it was a place of joy, fun and laughter. Since that visit I've wanted to help; last year my family and I walked up Scafell Pike and raised money for Charlton Farm. Signing myself up to the Penguin Challenge and raising money for the hospice will inspire me to keep me going through the chilly winter months.”
Hazel says she got into open water swimming through a friend: ‘’I've always loved the beach and always loved being in the sea - in the summer! I have friends in Clevedon who invited me up for a swim in September 2020, still balmy but with a hint of a nip. Then a friend contacted me to see if I would like to carry on with the dips/swims throughout the winter.”
Some friends think that Hazel is crazy to carry on the swims in the winter months, but she says it really helps her physical health: “Working from home meant my posture was rubbish, the cold water really soothed the aches and pains. Also, it does wonders for mental health, especially during lockdown. When were still allowed to meet our one person for exercise, I would meet a friend for a cold dip and a socially distanced cuppa afterwards! The feeling of getting into cold water is so invigorating and shocks you into a better mood.”
To support Hazel in her challenge you can donate to her fundraising page.