Open water swimmers’ dip in lake provides funds for Royal Papworth

Mily, Layla, Edie and Ross took part in the open swim event at the Hemingford lake.

Mily, Layla, Edie and Ross took part in the open swim event at the Hemingford lake. - Credit: Archant

Open water swimmers raised more than £3,000 for the Royal Papworth Hospital with a nippy dip in Lake Ashmore, Hemingford Grey.

Nearly 70 people took part in the event, which marked the end of AM Activ’s open swimming season, and included young swimmers who wanted to thank the NHS for helping family members.

AM Activ, led by Andy Matson, has been using the lake as an outlet for open water swimming and said the cold wind and water temperature of 14.8 degrees did not prevent participants taking part in the event which lasted four hours.

The group said: “Some notable achievements from the afternoon included Poppy Corner, 12, who challenged herself to swim one lap of the lake which is 800m. Poppy had only swum 400m leading up to the event when the water temperature was a tropical 23 degrees.”

Swimmers Milly Lewis, 10, Layla Burdett, eight, Edie Lewis, eight, and Ross Burdett, seven, set themselves the challenge of completing their first triathlon, which involved a 7km bike ride from St Ives to the lake, a 1km run at Lake Ashmore and finishing with a 400m swim.

Milly and Edie said: “Our mummy is a children’s doctor so we know how important the NHS is and how much it needs support. We hope we can raise lots of money to help patients and staff.”

The event was particularly important to Layla and Ross whose father Simon was diagnosed at Royal Papworth hospital two years ago with a rare and not very well understood lung condition.

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AM Activ said: “In addition, Simon’s wife Muneni and her friend Joanna Lewis took on the challenge of swimming 5km in just under one hour and 45 minutes having only started open water swimming in July.

“Nona Bowkis was due to do Swim Serpentine, which was cancelled due to COVID 19, as part of the London Classics challenge in memory of her nephew who passed away while waiting for a heart transplant in Papworth. It would have been his 44th birthday on Saturday 26th so Nona challenged herself to a two-mile swim in Lake Ashmore.”

The event itself raised more than £3000, with further payments continuing to be added, donations can be made to: