Bexhill man’s 72-hour swim challenge in aid of Hastings lifeguards
A lifeguard in Hastings raised almost £1,000 by completing a 72-hour swim – with a little bit of help from his friends.
Dean Baker, vice-chairman of The Hastings & St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club, set himself the enormous challenge as a way to raise money for a new engine for the club’s rescue boat.
But the day wasn’t without its challenges. On Wednesday evening, a team unpacked the brand new pool, put it together and sited it on the balcony at East Hastings Sea Angling Association (EHSAA). The pool was due to be heated ready for the challenge to start at 4pm on Thursday.
However, when the pool was starting to be filled, three leaks were discovered on one side. Two team members went in search of waterproof sealant, waterproof tape and pool patches to fix the pool.
While this was successful, the delay meant there was no time to heat the pool before Dean started swimming.
A spokesman for the club said: “All went well to begin with but with such cold water it was always going to be so much harder for Dean. In the early hours we were still struggling to get the water warm enough, Dean was feeling the cold and couldn’t raise his body temperature while in the pool. At 4am on Friday, 12 hours into the swim, Dean made a very difficult decision to take some time out as he was well towards serious hypothermia. The club, with Dean, needed to decide what to do. So many people had put in so much time and effort into the swim that we agreed that we couldn’t abandon it.
“Other club members came forward and offered to swim so it was decided that we’d continue as a relay and Dean would continue once warmed.
“The response was absolutely amazing. Members who had offered to come and support the swim as part of the safety team rota were now offering to swim for us.
“We think we probably reached more people because there were more swimmers taking part. We felt despite a leaking pool, cold water, wind and rain we could continue.
“EHSAA was so supportive before, during and after the swim – special thanks must go to Paul Carter (chairman).
“We’d like to thank the mayor for coming along when we finished at 4pm on Sunday and for also drawing the raffle. We’d like to thank all who contributed towards the raffle. During the 72 hours we raised £998.
“A huge thank you to everyone who swam, provided safety cover, visited us, and the fire service for filling the pool and emptying it on Sunday.”
To donate, visit www.hastingslifeguards.org.uk.