Julie's festive dip raises funds and awareness in memory of mum

Julie Theobald and Stacey Iannuzzi braved the sea at Felixstowe on Christmas Day

Julie Theobald and Stacey Iannuzzi braved the sea at Felixstowe on Christmas Day in memory of Julie's mum, Carol O'Grady - Credit: Stacey Iannuzzi

A daughter braved the cold sea at Felixstowe on Christmas Day to raise money in memory of her much-loved mum.

Julie Theobald, who lives in the town, took the plunge to support Suffolk Mind in tribute to her mother, Carol O'Grady, who passed away in September aged 70 after a short illness.

She and her friend Stacey Iannuzzi went ahead with their sponsored dip, cheered on by friends and family, despite cold temperatures and high winds.

Julie Theobald and Stacey Iannuzzi swimming on Christmas Day to raise money for Suffolk Mind 

Julie Theobald and Stacey Iannuzzi swimming on Christmas Day to raise money for Suffolk Mind - Credit: Stacey Iannuzzi

"It was quite blowy, so we were very careful and didn't go very far in," Julie said.

"We wanted to make sure we completed it because we were raising money for charity. It was really cold but we were glad to have done it."

Julie, 48, said her mum had a long struggle with mental health after suffering family bereavements, losing her son Michael and later her husband Peter. 

"We have all at some point struggled with how we feel, maybe from bereavement, anxiety, depression, low self esteem, no doubt the list goes on, she said.

The swim was in memory of Julie's mum, Carol O'Grady, who passed away in September

The swim was in memory of Julie's mum, Carol O'Grady, who passed away in September - Credit: Julie Theobald

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"We as a family found it incredibly hard to give Mum all the support she needed, it was very difficult to get the right help quickly and her mental health over the years was bad."

Carol, from Trimley, helped many people through her work for Age Concern, running the popular tearoom which used to be based in Ipswich town centre.

"She loved it there," her daughter said, recalling how she would pop in for one of her Mum's famous cheese scones. "She loved baking and helping people."  

In her memory, Julie wants to raise awareness of Suffolk Mind, and let people know that help is at hand.

"No one should struggle alone, and Mind are there to help," she said. "I wanted to get some awareness out there."

Carol O'Grady with her daughter Julie Theobald

Carol O'Grady with her daughter Julie Theobald - Credit: Julie Theobald

Julie said she had taken inspiration from Sam Phillips, who has been braving the sea at Felixstowe every morning to raise awareness of mental health.

The swimming challenge helped to distract her over Christmas and she now plans to do more events for the charity over the coming months. 

So far, she and Stacey have raised more than £470, after setting an initial target of £100, but they want to raise more. To support the fundraising, visit Julie's JustGiving page.  

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