Our big swim in Gran’s memory

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Super swimmer Connie Thomas and her Gran at Slapton.

A mum and daughter team from Chagford have joined forces to swim a total of 44 miles over 12 weeks for leading charity Diabetes UK as part of their Swim22 fundraiser.

Both experienced wild swimmers, volunteer manager Connie Thomas, 32, and her mum, Tessa, will not be plunging gently into the heated waters of a local swimming pool but, instead, will be powering through the sea, rivers, and lakes of deepest Devon at one of the chilliest times of the year.

email Connie Thomas

A MUM and daughter team from Chagford have joined forces to swim a total of 44 miles over 12 weeks for charity Diabetes UK as part of their Swim22 fundraiser.

Both experienced wild swimmers, volunteer manager Connie Thomas, 32, and her mum, Tessa, will not be plunging gently into the heated waters of a local swimming pool but, instead, will be powering through the sea, rivers, and lakes of deepest Devon at one of the chilliest times of the year.

Accompanied by their three dogs, Connie and Tessa, who are swimming in memory of their mum and gran who had type 2 diabetes, plan to enjoy the waters of both the River Teign and River Dart as well as some Dartmoor pools and stretches of coastline.

Their last mile though, in tribute to ‘gran’ who passed away in October last year, will be completed at her favourite spot on Slapton Sands and topped off with fish and chips.

Connie said: ‘One of my earliest memories is when we lived in a tiny house in Dartmouth and really early every morning, we would get the ferry to the other side of the estuary, drive to Slapton beach and go swimming for an hour before school.

Super swimmer Connie Thomas and her Gran at Slapton. ‘Although gran lived in Worcester, we all spent a lot of time together and she loved Slapton Sands too. Finishing off Swim22 there feels like a very fitting way to remember her.’

Phaedra Perry, regional head Diabetes UK South West, said: ‘We are delighted that Connie and Tessa have taken on the Swim22 challenge in memory of their mum and gran and want to thank them both for their tremendous fundraising support.

‘We are also in awe of their hardiness in tackling such a challenge outdoors but would advise those less experienced to make use of public swimming pools or join a local wild swimming community.

‘During the pandemic we’ve seen demand for our services reach record levels, while our own funding has been significantly impacted.

‘More so than ever, people with diabetes need us, but we need your support to be able to continue fighting their corner.’

Swim22 runs over three months, from now until June 22.

There are three distances to choose from:

11 miles – half the distance to France but still an impressive feat.

22 miles – the distance of the English Channel, our most popular choice.

44 miles – to France and back for the more adventurous.

You can find out more information on Swim22 at https://swim22.diabetes.org.uk

If you’d like to sponsor Connie and Tessa you can do so at https://swim22.diabetes.org.uk/fundraising/connie2023

There are an estimated 4.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK.

If not managed carefully, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, including sight loss, amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

But with the right treatment and support people living with diabetes can lead a long and healthy life.



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