A selfless swimmer is planning on making a splash with her 60th birthday celebrations by completing 60 ‘wild swims’ in a bid to raise money for an end-of-life-care charity.
Gaynor Bentley is diving headfirst into fundraising, by swimming across 60 different wild locations, including the Rivelin Valley, in Sheffield, and Spring Lakes, in Nottingham.
Gaynor, who turned 60 in April, is keen to raise funds for Treetops Hospice, based in Risley, after they provided support for her late mum, Ada Clayton, from Heanor, via their Hospice at Home Service.
Hospice at Home nurses provided end of life care in Ada’s own home – including overnight stays.
“I want to be able to give back to this amazing charity, who provided us with nurses who would care for mum through the night to give me a night off from caring for her. This meant I could have a good night’s sleep and recharge my batteries. I wouldn’t have got through without them.”
The Hospice at Home Service also provides carers with respite during the day, so they can go shopping or have some well-deserved time for themselves.
Gaynor has already completed three of her 60 swims – battling sub-zero temperatures and snow.
“Swimming in the snow was lovely until I got out and realised I couldn’t feel my hands and fingers, so trying to dry off and get dressed was quite a challenge.”
To document her journey and raise awareness for Treetops, Gaynor has taken to social media platform Instagram, sharing images of her swimming successes captured by her husband.
To keep her in tip-top shape, Gaynor trains at the New Bath Hotel & Spa pool in Matlock, where she has faced freezing weather conditions. However, ensuring she has sufficient training amidst the pandemic has been a challenge in itself.
“I’m not the strongest swimmer by any means. I had booked swimming lessons last year, but due to COVID, I only managed to get two lessons.”
Despite this, Gaynor is keen to make progress and is dedicating her birthday celebrations to fundraising for the Derbyshire charity.
“I’m hiring a camper van from the 16th to 28th April and going on a little adventure for my birthday, where I hope to pull in lots more swims while I’m out and about.”
Treetops Community Relationships Manager, Cheryl Morris, said:
“A huge thank you to Gaynor – she is just amazing! This is such an innovative and fabulous way to fundraise for the hospice.
“We simply could not provide our vital care to those who need it the most without lovely people in the community like Gaynor. So, If Gaynor has inspired you to get in the water and fundraise for Treetops, we would love to hear from you.”
To follow Gaynor’s journey, check out: @60swimsat60 on Instagram or to donate, please visit her JustGiving page.
Treetops provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions. During the pandemic, Treetops has adapted its services to continue to support patients and clients shielding at home.