Memorial Plunged!


You may have noticed how, both here and the Facebook page, I’ve been going on for the last month about a “plunge” and some “plungers”. No, it’s not advice on what to do if someone puts a wet wipe down the toilet (but really Eva, please don’t). Instead it was the very first LWAT fundraiser – the Nick Collard and Peter Milner Memorial Plunge. You can read more about it here but short version is – cold water, Hampstead Heath, cancer and leukaemia research.


So, we did it. We trekked across Hampstead Heath from Gospel Oak to the Ladies’ Pond, hauling Boby’s buggy over the muddy paths and assembled our team of supporters – our wonderful photographer Sharon, Catriona, Shirley and Sonja, as well as Boby and Not-Bob from a bit of a distance. We overcame last-minute obstacles (my swimming clothes were not pond-compliant, hasty replacements had to be found) and we managed to not quite freeze or lose all feeling in our limbs…but it was a close-run thing. The air outside was a balmy 14C, the water was a not-so-balmy 9C, we were only allowed a few minutes before the lifeguards called time on us blatant rookies.




And more to the point – YOU all did it. With your supportive comments, your offers of help and, most importantly, your donations. Want to hear the running total? Wait for it…


And there’s still time to give more, here at our fundraising page. We’re aiming to raise £1,000, which is a figure I plucked out of the air while talking to a journalist, but golly gosh we’re nearly there.

A journalist you say? Why yes, because we got into the Camden New Journal and there is more press on the horizon next week. Possibly featuring a picture of me in the shower.  And talking of pictures, here’s some more from the Plunge, including my favourite Bob-face ever:



Aww, so scared…but she soon warmed up. In the metaphorical sense, obviously:



And I look positively delirious. Which I was:



Would I do it again? Yeah, totally. It was fun and it wasn’t even too cold, especially not once I’d had a lovely cup of Baileys and coffee (thanks to Catriona for bringing the thermos of coffee!). We met a lot of the regular winter swimmers there, which made us slightly shamefaced about having to be so heavily bribed to do this but they were all lovely. One lady said she’d seen us in the paper and pressed a fiver into our hands. Totally made it all worthwhile.

And so does the nearly £900 for Cancer Reasearch UK and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. £450 each will buy:


  • £150 helps a Cancer Chat nurse to learn about the latest advances.
  • £300 buys a thermostat controlled water bath for accurate results


  • £50 funds a PhD student for one day on one of our vital research projects building on a network of expert blood cancer scientists for the future
  • £100 supports a research nurse for one day to help provide new treatments to blood cancer patients on one of our life-saving clinical trials
  • £300 pays for a blood cancer patient’s DNA to be screened providing a more accurate diagnosis and helping to guide treatments

So, it’s definitely worth it. And I’m going to plagarise myself for a moment. This is what I posted on Facebook just before we left:

“One last thought before I leave. .. people are saying I’m brave for doing this but honestly, it’s just a cold swim. It doesn’t take an inch of the bravery that friends of mine are showing right now as they actually deal with this cancer shizz. And that’s all the motivation I need. See you all on the other side.”

Damn straight. I make myself cry sometimes, honestly I do.

One last thing – the beautiful Hampstead ponds are under threat, thanks to a plan to build some frankly unneccessary dams. Have a look here and see what you can do to stop that happening. Thanks!


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