Despite the wet and windy weather, than 50 members of the coldwater swimming group took part in the coffee morning, where they donated cakes, made coffees and took to the sea.
“Obviously the weather was against us, it was a bit rainy,” said Blue Tits member Clare Franklin, 50 “But we did well. we raised just over £250.”
“It went really, really well. There was a good bunch of us there, on and off, throughout the morning.”
In keeping the communal, spirit of the event and in the name of good fun, the swimmers dressed up as members of the Women’s Institute, with many going for a swim in costume.
For Ms Franklin, the fancy dress added an element of fun to the day.
“(The idea) was just plucked from the air. I know a lot of people will probably get a bit cross because we’re stereotyping the Women’s Institute, and I know it’s not anything like that now, but because we were doing the homemade cakes, it just sort of popped into our heads.”
While some people might have been put off by the dingy weather over the weekend, Ms Franklin said the cold water swimmers took it in stride.
“We swim right through the year anyway, so for us, the weather doesn’t make any difference. It was just about getting people to come along and take part in the tea and cake afterwards. We had to buy some parasols to make sure the cakes didn’t get soggy!
“But there were quite a few of us dry-robed up eating cakes near our beach hut.”
Taking place at the boat pound on Aldwick Beach on Saturday morning (August 21), the morning gave Ms Franklin and her fellow swimmers another chance to experience the joy of coldwater swimming.
“Getting in the sea, it’s great because it’s so good for your mental health,” she said.
“It’s mindfulness at work, because you can’t think of thing anything other than the cold water, anything other than breathing and getting used to it. But a lot of the appeal, especially during lockdown has been the companionship, sitting on the beach, getting yourself in your dry clothes and warmed up with a nice tea or coffee.
“It’s about nattering with your tribe, I guess, with people who are as bonkers as you.”
Anyone interested in joining the Blue Tits of Bognor Regis should join its Facebook group, which members use to organise meet ups. The group is private but, Ms Franklin says, anyone who asks to join will be accepted and coldwater swimming sessions are open to all.
“As well as the big group swims, lots of people also say ‘I’m going to have a little dip at Felpham at three o’clock if anybody wants to come and join me,’ so people are welcome to go along to those as well,” she said.