Big Give: Swimming Stories

Swimming is one of the biggest participatory sports in the UK and, in recent years, outdoor swimming in particular has exploded in popularity. To mark the opening day of The Rivers Trust’s Big Give campaign, we’re bringing together an inspirational group of women who can all speak firsthand about the transformative power of outdoor swimming.

From swimming an ice mile without a wetsuit to tugging a giant poo sculpture along the Bristol Avon, Lindsey Cole and Becca Harvey are both swimmers who love an adventure - and a challenge. With a plethora of tales to tell, they are open about the difficulties in life that swimming has helped them to deal with, but also fierce advocates for the health of waterways and the wider environment.

The outdoor swimming community has become a crucial voice in demanding better for rivers. The incredible mental and physical benefits of swimming have to be weighed against concerns over the harmful effects of pollution. Whilst any outdoor swimmer is accustomed to assessing risk, water pollution threatens the spontaneity and feeling of freedom that attracts so many people to the water.

Becca and Lindsey will be joined for this special evening event by Ella Foote, editor of Outdoor Swimmer Magazine for a warm, informal conversation celebrating all the things we love about river swimming, and discussing why outdoor swimming and environmental advocacy go hand in hand.

We are hosting this event as part of our Big Give campaign, where we are aiming to raise £75,000 between 28th November and 5th December. During this week, any donation to The Rivers Trust made through the Big Give will be doubled with match funding. Please support us to carry out our river restoration work by donating:

Double your donation with the Big Give banner


  • Date: 28 November 2023
  • Time: 6:30pm - 7:30pm
  • Location: Online event
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