To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim, on Sunday 4th July 2021, 16-year-old Eloise and her friend Maddie took part in one of Europe’s biggest charity events to swim 1.4 miles between Bournemouth and Boscombe Pier’s.
DS: What made you decide to participate in the Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim event for the British Heart Foundation?
Eloise: “We knew it would give us the chance to improve our swimming, and some people we knew were taking part, so we thought we would give it go!”
DS: What training did you do in preparation for this event?
Eloise: “Maddie and I trained together. We completed swim sessions at the beach and a few pool sessions too.”
DS: I hear the challenging weather conditions meant that the Event Water Safety Team decided to change the 1.4-mile swim to a 2-lap loop. How did you find the swim on the day?
Eloise: “They changed the course to a short and longer loop. I was ready to stop after the short loop as the water was choppy and it was starting to make me feel sick. Thankfully, Maddie encouraged me to continue, and we finished the course in under 45 minutes – which we recorded was 1.8 miles in total.”
Over 30 years, the British Heart Foundation has raised over 3.6 million for life-saving research. This year’s event attracted over 3,000 participants and is expected to raise around £350,000.
DS: It is great to hear that you also train at Branksome Chine Surf Lifesaving Club? How do you use your valuable skillset to help the Dorset Community?
Eloise: “My training enables me to offer Water Safety Cover for local events. I act as a first responder on the water – on a board, or the boat if required.”
Branksome Chine Surf Lifesaving Club (BCSLSC) is a voluntary organisation teaching 8-year-olds to adults’ life-saving skills and promoting sea/surf safety in and around Bournemouth and Poole.
DS: As a young person living close to the sea, why do you think it is important that beachgoers understand the potential dangers of the sea?
Eloise: “So much can happen near the water or in the sea. Conditions can change so quickly, so having an understanding about what could happen and what to do if you found yourself in a tricky situation is important.”
BCSLSC work as a backup service to the RNLI Beach Rescue lifeguards during the weekends and bank holidays each summer, providing voluntary first aid, rescue cover, water safety advice, and reunites lost children and people with their families.
BCSLSC is a registered charity funded solely by donations and grants, which they use to replace their rescue and training equipment, including first aid kits. If you would like to donate to the club, please email email@example.com.