Bet that was cold! The Light Fund’s Stephen Gould boosts fundraising by completing the Ice Mile
Freezing swim “a great warm-up” for this summer’s Channel relay, says Stephen
With this year’s Light Fund Channel relay fundraiser only a matter of months away, one of the two team captains, Stephen Gould, has been warming up (if that’s the correct term) with an Ice Mile.
That’s right: a one-mile swim in near-freezing temperatures in the middle of January. He completed the Ice Mile at Hatfield Lake in Doncaster in water temperature of 4.4°C and air temperature of -0.5°C. Only 434 people worldwide have achieved a similar feat (more people have been in space) – and very few of them were in their late 50s (sorry Stephen). In fact, Stephen is the third-oldest person from the UK to successfully complete an Ice Mile.
Stephen, who has been swimming competitively since he was eight and became an open water swimmer at the age of 21, has gained a reputation for cold water swimming. In fact, he is known to his team as Wee Hof after Wim Hof (aka the Iceman), an extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. To date Stephen has literally dozens of open water competitions under his belt, including the Thames Marathon, Ullswater, Coniston, Jersey to France and two Channel relays. Now that tally includes the notorious Ice Mile.
But he didn’t just do it for fun. His Ice Mile also helped to raise donations towards this year’s Light Fund target of £250,000, which will be shared by the RNLI and a number of other organisations and projects supported by the charity inspired, and run, by the licensing industry. Stephens’s dedicated Just Giving page for the Ice Mile can be found here.
Other fundraising initiatives – including a highly recommended swimming-themed limited edition beer – have taken the Light Fund over halfway to its target. But there’s still a long way to go.
Which brings us to the main event. This summer, on a day between the 30th of June and the 3rd of July when the weather conditions are right, two boats of six swimmers will be racing each other across the English Channel to France in aid of The Light Fund charity. All the participants will be from the licensing industry, trying to be first to make it from Dover to the French coast.
The teams are all fit, enthusiastic swimmers, but this is no ordinary swim. France may be ‘only’ 21 miles away but that could end up closer to 40 miles if you include tidal shifts.