More than 100 people were on hand to cheer and clap a group of sea swimmers who finished their virtual swim around the Island on Sunday (April 4) to raise money for the East Cowes Esplanade and Landslip Community Project.
The Shrape Swimmers are nine swimmers, named after the breakwater at East Cowes, who take a daily plunge whatever the weather. They decided to do the virtual swim to support the local community who have set up a group to regain access to the Esplanade and woodland, a lot of which has been inaccessible due to two landslips in the last six years.
Member David Hill explained: “There are nine of us, including Pat Murphy who turned 80 last year, and we got together last summer almost by accident. It started off with just one or two of us and grew from there. The weather was great last year and it gave us the incentive to carry on.
“We buddy up, so we swim in pairs for safety and go into the water in shifts, two at a time.
“We wanted to help the East Cowes Esplanade and Landslip Community Project because it has brought our community together and our swim has now raised around £1,350.”
The group were cheered on by a beachside crowd as they completed the virtual swim which they started on February 1.
David added: “We are all really chuffed. There is a real sense of achievement when there has been so much darkness around everyone during the last year.
“I’m an airline pilot and have been furloughed all that time, so to have one thing to focus on each day has been a lifeline for me. It was humbling to be part of this group and it was so nice that such a large crowd turned up to cheer us on. Someone even brought along some bunting for us to use as a finishing line!
“Another person had a collecting bucket and we raised about £160 on the day, so it just goes to show what the project means to the community.”
The project recently raised £10,000 in just a week from local donations towards the estimated £30,000 it will cost to complete the scheme.