Thousands take on the Great East Swim at Alton Water

Warming up at the Great East Swim. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Warming up at the Great East Swim. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Thousands of swimmers zipped up their wet suits and took on the Great East Swim today.

The one mile starting line at the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

The one mile starting line at the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

The open water event, now in its eighth year in Suffolk, saw swimmers of all ages and abilities take on a variety of distances at Alton Water near Ipswich.

The crowds were treated to glorious weather, the sun glinting off the calm waters as the swimmers made their way round the course.

From club swimmers training for a triathlon to youngsters experiencing open water swimming for the very first time, every swimmer had a beaming smile on their face.

A team from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were there raising money for mental health charity Mind, and have already raised £2,000 of their £5,000 target.

Having fun at the Great East Swim at Alton Water
. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Having fun at the Great East Swim at Alton Water . Picture: SEANA HUGHES


You may also want to watch:


Chief fire officer Mark Hardingham, who was himself taking on the one mile distance, said: “It is fantastic, it’s an absolutely perfect day for it.

“When you walk down here it truly is the best of Suffolk.

Spectators lined the shore to cheer on those taking part in the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Pict

Spectators lined the shore to cheer on those taking part in the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Most Read

“Fantastic place, beautiful weather, people having a good time - it is everything that is good about Suffolk.

“This is the second time I have swam one mile. I’ve bought a wet suit and I did go for a swim about two weeks ago just give me the confidence to get around.”

Fay and Dan Forbes of Proper Cakes at the food market, ready to get the swimmers re-energised. Pictu

Fay and Dan Forbes of Proper Cakes at the food market, ready to get the swimmers re-energised. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Rob Milburn and Simon Emm, from the Masters swimming club in Colchester were the first two to cross the finishing line in the 10k event.

Rob said: “There are quite a few of us from Colchester here, some of the kids from the club as well.

Paul Berry from Ipswich with wife Charlotte and daughters Tess, six, Hettie, four, and Emily, two. P

Paul Berry from Ipswich with wife Charlotte and daughters Tess, six, Hettie, four, and Emily, two. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

“I guess it is something for them to emulate - or for probably for us to try not to get beaten by them.”

Paul Berry, 36, from Ipswich, was cheered over the line by his wife Charlotte and daughters Tess, six, Hettie, four and Emily, two.

Londoner Martin Bradford, who is originally from Haverhill, said it was brilliant to come home to Su

Londoner Martin Bradford, who is originally from Haverhill, said it was brilliant to come home to Suffolk and take on the challenge. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

He took part to raise money for Suffolk Artlink.

“It was really good, I absolutely loved it,” he said. “I did it last year but this year was even better.”

Into the water they go on the Great Swim Run. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Into the water they go on the Great Swim Run. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Mark Parrott and Dean Martin travelled all the way from West Sussex to take on the 5k swim.

“It was great, last year we did the two mile, this year we have done the three,” said Mark.

Linda Fordham, 43, from Bardwell, has raised almost £1,000 for cancer charity Bloodwise after being

Linda Fordham, 43, from Bardwell, has raised almost £1,000 for cancer charity Bloodwise after being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2014. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

“I can tell you the last half mile felt like a long way today.

“But it is a brilliant day for it, the water is just under 20C.”

Husband and wife Helen and Rob Davis, from Cambridge, had a close race for the finish in their two m

Husband and wife Helen and Rob Davis, from Cambridge, had a close race for the finish in their two mile swim (Helen won). Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

The pair are raising money for Little Life Savers, a scheme where children are taught life-saving resuscitation skills at school.

Linda Fordham from Bardwell near Bury St Edmunds has raised almost £1,000 for blood cancer charity Bloodwise.

Tony Buckley, 50, travelled all the way from Reading to take part in the Great East Swim. Picture: A

Tony Buckley, 50, travelled all the way from Reading to take part in the Great East Swim. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

The 43-year-old was diagnosed with leukaemia in July 2014 and was keen to give something back for the support she received.

“I was at Addenbrookes for a lot of that time and has six months of chemotherapy,” she said.

Limbering up ahead of the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Limbering up ahead of the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

“But I was then given the all clear and really wanted to give something back.

“I had lost a lot of weight after the treatment and swimming helped me build up my strength. I have two young children who love swimming together too.

One of thousands of people who headed to Alton Water to take part in the Great East Swim. Picture: S

One of thousands of people who headed to Alton Water to take part in the Great East Swim. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

“It was a perfect way to get back to fitness. This was my first Great East Swim, I was concerned about it being cold but it is such a beautiful day the cold hasn’t been an issue.

“I have raised around £950 for Bloodwise so far.

Eve and Tom Mc Conville with their medals. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Eve and Tom Mc Conville with their medals. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

“My eldest is very eager to do it and he is 13 now.

“So maybe we will take it on together next year.”

At the start line of the one mile swim. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

At the start line of the one mile swim. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Rob Milburn and Simon Emm from Colchester were first to finish in the10k swim. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Rob Milburn and Simon Emm from Colchester were first to finish in the10k swim. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

The start of the Great Swim Run. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

The start of the Great Swim Run. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

It wasn't just the humans wanting to take part in the Great East Swim this year...Picture: SEANA HUG

It wasn't just the humans wanting to take part in the Great East Swim this year...Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Luke Groves, 31, from Colchester, completed the two mile swim. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Luke Groves, 31, from Colchester, completed the two mile swim. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

Congratulated at the finish line. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Congratulated at the finish line. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Some of the swimmers after crossing the finish line. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Some of the swimmers after crossing the finish line. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

A sprint finish! Picture: SEANA HUGHES

A sprint finish! Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Mark Parrot, from Burgess Hill, and Dean Martin, from Crawley, travelled up from West Sussex to take

Mark Parrot, from Burgess Hill, and Dean Martin, from Crawley, travelled up from West Sussex to take part in the swim. They are raising money for Little Life Savers, a charity which teaches resusitation skills in schools. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

Posing for a picture at the start line. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Posing for a picture at the start line. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Just past the finish line at the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Just past the finish line at the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

The start of the Great Swim Run. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

The start of the Great Swim Run. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Gearing up for the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Gearing up for the Great East Swim at Alton Water. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

George Petrie, Ben Miller, Hugh and Jack Ronen who took part in the Great East Swim. Picture: SEANA

George Petrie, Ben Miller, Hugh and Jack Ronen who took part in the Great East Swim. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

The team from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service are raising money for mental health charity Mind as pa

The team from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service are raising money for mental health charity Mind as part of its Blue Lights Programme. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter