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Mediterranean Marathon for Dementia Support

At the end of September, six amazing ladies did an open swim in the Mediterranean for Dementia Support.

Kate Hogan, Mariella Flemming, Sue Wade, Sarah Selman, Sarah Garnett and Tessa Mountain, all local to Chichester, took on the daunting challenge of a 15km swim in open sea. The distance and the additional difficulty of swimming in the sea, made the challenge the equivalent of running two marathons.

Kate Hogan reported on the challenge and how the group got on:

"On 28th – 30th September, 11 of us took part in a 15km open water swim off the southern coast of Mallorca, with 6 of the 11 raising funds for Dementia Support. This was not something any of us had ever undertaken before and it was a real physical and mental challenge. The swim itself was arranged by Swimtrek and we had two safety boats as well as a boat to transport us and two fully qualified swim guides. Upon arrival, we took part in an acclimatisation swim which started as we ended, swimming into a fluther (yes, that is the collective noun!) of jellyfish. Every single swimmer was stung, at least once, and some several times and as you can imagine, it was not the best start. However, having already raised so much money for Dementia Support and trained all through the summer, this was not about to deter us and we gamely attacked the first 4km swim up the coastline, swimming against a fairly strong current and choppy sea. Unfortunately, we encountered more jellyfish and one of our party was stung across her face, but bravely battled on in spite of the shock.

"The next day, we encountered much more favourable conditions and started with a 4km stretch, before refuelling and steeling ourselves for a 3km, the combined effort of which was pretty gruelling, but on we swam, our ears ringing with the immortal words of one of our guides, ‘You don’t finish the swim until you finish the swim!”. We had broken the back of what we had set out to achieve, and although, we were cold and tired, we all basked in the glow of our accomplishment. We approached the final 4km feeling tired but pretty certain we could do it, before having to board our flight back. The swim itself was pretty straightforward, but as we neared the final stretch, we were once again surrounded by a smack of jellyfish, bringing our adventure full circle. Needless to say, we exited the water as quickly as we could, celebrating our combined effort and the fact that we had raised so much money for our charity."

The group raised a combined sponsorship of £9,587.50 for Dementia Support and the new hub fundraising appeal. The charity is fundraising £1.74 million to open a new Dementia Support Hub in Tangmere. The Hub will provide complete dementia services under one roof, such as Memory Assessment Service, information and advice, day care including holistic therapies and wellbeing activities, and a community café and garden. The services will be available for people living with dementia, and their families and carers in the West Sussex area.

Becky Stotesbury, Fundraising Manager, said: “On behalf of the charity, I want to thank these amazing ladies for doing this incredible challenge for us and raising a fantastic amount for our fundraising appeal. Dementia can affect anyone and everyone, and it is crucial we open the Dementia Support Hub so we can provide essential dementia services now and for generations to come.”


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