Pair taking on icy swim to help mums

Kenneth Martin and Beverley Adam have been acclimatising in local rivers before they take on the icy challenge in Sweden next month.
Kenneth Martin and Beverley Adam have been acclimatising in local rivers before they take on the icy challenge in Sweden next month.

A father and daughter are to take on an icy challenge ito raise money to help new Borders mums and their families.

Kenny Martin and daughter Bev Adam will swim in the ice-cold waters of the Skelleftea river in Swedish Lapland on Saturday, February 11.

The money raised will go towards perinatal mental healthcare helping women and their families deal with problems such as anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders during and after pregnancy.

As part of a 4x25m relay team, the pair will experience winter swimming at its most dangerous in waters reaching temperatures as low as -2C.

The challenge is part of the Scandinavian Winter Bathing Championship and involves hardy swimmers braving cold waters for a series of races.

All funds they raise will be donated to the health endowment funds run by the Borders General Hospital charity the Difference.

Bev, of Innerleithen, has worked as a midwife at the Melrose hospital for 13 years, and she said: “I’ve been a keen swimmer all my life, and I do like to set myself a challenge, but I have never done a winter swim like this one in Skelleftea.

“As a keen swimmer and walker, I like to keep myself fit, especially if I have taken on a challenge.

“Perinatal mental health is a highly topical subject which is hugely important to expectant mothers and their families.

“I hope that the money will help to raise awareness and increase services around the Borders.”

The pair will join more than 300 participants in the event on February 11, including relay team-mates Bankt and Kim Nasstrom.

Already the team has raised more than £925, despite setting a target of just £500.

The four met through Sweden-based photography company Fotograf Marrianne which Kenny, a photographic business and creative consultant, works alongside.

The 57-year-old, of Tweedsmuir, said: “As a young teenager, I swam for Scotland.

“I have visited Skelleftea on many occasions and have had the odd ice dip, but I have never done an actual swimming challenge.

“I have visited the area for work on many occasions over the last 15 years.

“It will be slightly more of a challenge for me I’m not as fit as I once was.

“We have been trying to acclimatise ourselves for the temperature by getting into the local rivers.

“I think that has to be the worst part of it, the cold, along with the fact that we can only wear our swimming gear and no wetsuits.”

Bev, 34, added: “We had a holiday planned to Skelleftea, so when we found out it was at the same time that the winter games were hosted, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to try something new.

“We are holidaying for a week, enjoying the Scandinavian Dark and Cold events such as snowmobiling, skating and a visit to the Ice Hotel.”

The event, now in its fifth consecutive year, is organised by Dark and Cold, a volunteer-led organisation which carries out projects set up for those who live in and visit cold areas of Sweden subject to prolonged darkness.

A spokeswoman for the Difference said: “We are aware of Bev and Kenny’s daring swim and are delighted they have chosen to raise money for the Difference.

“The Difference is the charity that supports services across NHS Borders, and it is thanks to donations and fundraising efforts, like that of Bev and Kenny, that we are able to provide enhancements to local health services.

“These enhancements help improve the patient experience and would not otherwise be funded from core budgets.

“The perinatal mental health project has been driven by the maternity service themselves with staff keen to develop their skills so they can provide even better support for new and expectant mothers.

“The funding made available by sponsored events such as this helps make that possible.”

Donations to the Difference can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Crazywinterswim