Service boss takes plunge

CHILLSWIM: Alison Coley-Smith is taking part in a 5.25 mile, open water swim to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society.

CHILLSWIM: Alison Coley-Smith is taking part in a 5.25 mile, open water swim to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society.

First published in News Kidderminster Shuttle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE manager of a Bewdley day service is taking a chilling plunge to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Alison Coley-Smith will be pulling on a wetsuit as she takes part in this year’s Chillswim, an open water swimming race along the full 5.25 miles of Coniston Lake, in the Lake District.

Ms Coley-Smith believes it will take three to four hours to complete the swim, on September 6, with the average water temperature at the time of the race being about 16 degrees.

“I am excited about competing in this amazing challenge but also very scared and very nervous," she said.

“I am a keen swimmer and have been training in the pool and in open water when I can, although I had a bad experience recently, getting tangled in some weeds and having post-swim lake itch.

“I have competed in a couple of open water events in the past but this will be, by far, the most challenging to date.”

The 45-year-old said she was inspired to do the swim in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society due to a recent bereavement in her family, "earlier this year, when we sadly lost our Aunty Dottie to dementia.”

She added: “I feel the Alzheimer’s Society is a wonderful cause, making valuable progress in research to help and support people with this very sad condition.”

She will be taking on her fundraising challenge alongside her job of managing a small day service for adults with learning disabilities, which she set up in 2013.

The service, called Reach, is based at Bewdley Cricket Club and offers a variety of activities, including cookery, arts and crafts, sports, games and outings.

She hopes to raise as much as she can through her challenge and has already received support from a local brewery.

She added: “I have had some wonderful local support from Bewdley Brewery, which has pledged £5 a mile to support me in my challenge and to raise money.

“This is such a generous gesture and it is wonderful to be supported locally by the Bewdley Brewery team.”

To donate to Ms Coley-Smith's cause visit

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