Wild swimmer braves icy waters for Sue Ryder hospice

Amy Brown

A wild swimmer from Skipton has braved the icy waters this winter raising thousands for Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope.

Amy Brown, 50, decided to set herself the challenge of taking the plunge into icy open waters for 21 days after Sue Ryder care teams supported her friend Dawn Barrett before she died.

Amy, a Hypnotherapist at The Power of Your Mind in Skipton, said: “I met Dawn through a wild swimming group about a year and a half ago and bonded over our love of the water. She was an amazingly adventurous person and loved everything from climbing to skiing and kayaking.

“Dawn told me her cancer had spread in November last year and from that point she declined quite quickly, and spent her final days being cared for by the team at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice. I used to work at the hospice as a Hypnotherapist and know first-hand how exceptional the care and support is, and also how vital every penny raised can be.

“I had already previously decided to come up with a personal challenge of braving a swim for as many days as possible in December, so when Dawn moved into the hospice I was inspired do the challenge for her, and to raise money for Sue Ryder.

“The challenge itself definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone – one of the mornings I set out the air temperature was -7 degrees! My husband, Stewart, and our Golden Retriever, Lottie, came and supported me on those harder mornings, and knowing I was doing it for Dawn spurred me on. It became quite addictive. I also swam with several other swimmy friends who also had the pleasure of knowing Dawn. I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family for emotional and safety reasons.

“I feel great that I’ve managed to turn a personal challenge into a fundraiser raising over £2,000, especially going to such a great cause. It’s been really special for me to be able to channel that energy into doing something good. Doing something where you know you are giving back also helps with the grief process. I think it has definitely helped me in processing my grief for Dawn.”

As well as Amy’s swimming challenge, Dawn’s friends and family also came together to celebrate Dawn’s life and raised more than £4,000 for Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice. Dawn’s mum, Liz, said: “After Dawn died, we wanted to give something back for all the good work Sue Ryder care teams do at the hospice. We were with Dawn right until the end and the care and support they gave was incredible.”

Adam Brunskill, Senior Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, said: “From all of us at the hospice we want to say thank you to Dawn’s friends and family for supporting us and raising such an incredible amount. The money donated will mean we can continue to be there for patients and families at the hardest of times.”

Melissa, Amy and Dawn in Wales 2023

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