Harrogate wild swimmers brave icy waters for Rob Burrows appeal
Last updated Dec 7, 2023
Some of The Dippers at Summerbridge.

A group of Harrogate wild swimmers is undertaking seven dips in Yorkshire waters in seven days to raise money for the Rob Burrows appeal.

The Dippers, which formed in 2021 and meets regularly to swim, took inspiration from Kevin Sinfield’s 7-in-7-in-7 challenge, which saw the former rugby player complete seven ultra-marathons in seven cities over seven days to raise money for the fight against motor neurone disease (MND).

The group therefore hopes to complete seven swims in seven locations over seven days — and could hardly have chosen a colder week.

One of the dippers, Anna Cade-Smith, told the Stray Ferret:

“I lost my dad to MND last year, which inspired me to do this challenge.

“It’s a real group effort though – I couldn’t do it without the others.”

The group began the challenge last Saturday, in Grassington, and have since faced heavy snowfall and water temperatures as low as three degrees.

The dippers, equipped with wooly hats, have also braved the cold of Pateley Bridge weir, Linton Falls and Appletreewick this week.

Ms Cade-Smith added:

“Some people wear full wetsuits, some wear short ones and some just wear cardigan-like wetsuits.

“We had an aim of swimming for 7 minutes – to fit in with the 777 concept – but we’ve reached up to around 10.

“It obviously depends on individuals’ bodies. We all support each other through it.”

She also said the group, which regularly swims in wild waters, has found the cold temperatures on consecutive days particularly difficult:

“I think the hardest part is, when you get out, you know you have to keep warm and get your clothes dry ready for the next day to do it again.

“It has given us a real insight into what Kevin Sinfield is doing every day.”

“But, the swimmers have all managed to commit despite busy weeks, jobs and this week’s weather!”

The group has so far raised more than £800 as part of the appeal and will complete their final swim tomorrow at Burnsall.

The appeal will go towards the campaign to create a Rob Burrows Centre for Motor Neurone Disease in Leeds.

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