Arctic Flappers Challenge – Staff member Maria takes on 20 winter swims to support Mental Health

Arctic Flappers Challenge – Staff member Maria takes on 20 winter swims to support Mental Health


Maria smiles in front of the sea in SouthendDuring the pandemic, many people have taken on new challenges, learnt new skills, and tried to use their time in a safe and productive way. For Maria, Personal Progression Tutor at Trust Links, this meant joining a group of enthusiast swimmers, each taking on their own Winter Arctic Flappers Challenge in the cold winter waters of Southend.

The Arctic Flappers Challenge was put together by The Bluetits Chill Swimmers – a national group for swimmers to connect over their love of swimming and come together for local swims. To complete the challenge, Maria had to take on 20 swims between the 1st November 2020 and 28th March 2021, a time when our sea’s water temperature averages at a chilly 7 degrees Celsius!

“I’ve been swimming in the sea during the summer and decided to challenge myself to keep swimming throughout the winter by entering the Arctic Flappers Chill Swim 2021. It was also a great opportunity raise money for Trust Links and help raise awareness of the work we do there”.

a handwritten log of when Maria completes her swimsAlthough only starting the challenge in November, by Boxing Day 2020 Maria had already completed 16 swims. She shared “what an absolutely fantastic way to spend my time. I’m so happy to have found this friendly group…”

On New Year’s Day, just 2 months after beginning her icy challenge, Maria swam her 20th and final swim.

“Thank you family for keeping me company. Thank you sea for keeping me coming back for more. And I will be coming back for more….Thank you friends for all your positive comments. They mean a lot to me.”

So far, Maria has achieved 70% of her fundraising goal of £150, and is eager to accomplish her target, saying: “Trust Links Ltd is such a fantastic local charity which supports Mental Health in adults and children alike. I’m raising money to support them and their vital services in South Essex!”

You can see Maria as she enters the sea for her final swim at the bottom of this page!

Are you a budding Bluetit, or future fundraiser? Get Involved!

To help Maria with her final fundraising push, please visit her Virgin Money Giving Page.
If you want to find out more about the Bluetits of Leigh-on-Sea, you can visit their website HERE for more information.
To get involved with your own fundraising challenge for Trust Links, click HERE.Maria and her family celebrating her final swim at the beach