We were just nearing the end of one of our monthly gatherings in June this year and as I stood, mooching about, a lady rolled by along the East Beach promenade on her motorised scooter and stopped to see what all the fuss was about. We ended up chatting and Pat, who will turn 80 next year, revealed that she had once been an international athlete! I was bowled over. Shortly after that, as a few more joined the conversation, we learned that Pat now lives in a house that was once rented by Donna, one of our longest-standing members! They chatted about what was still in, and not in, the garden and the house now and by the time we said our goodbyes, we'd convinced Pat to join us for our next gathering, on the premise that we would help her out of her scooter, down the beach and into the sea. "That's what we do!" we said. So here is Pat, looking very happy indeed at her inaugural Selsey Sea Bathing event, kindly being helped up the shingle by Gillian and Mark.
On reading another story we recently put out about how being a member of this wonderful group had deeply helped her, Pat wrote to me to tell me her story and kindly agreed for this to be shared with you, in case it's helpful in any way. So here is Pat's experience of the Selsey Sea Bathing Society..
What a wonderful uplifting and life affirming letter you write. It moved me to tears because whoever you spoke to about what the Selsey Sea Bathers’ Society had done for her and her life here expresses my sentiments also.
I had been in Chichester for 15 yrs having moved there when my sister also settled nearby in Hunston after her retirement. We spent 4 happy years exploring this area.
My grown up family (2 daughters and a son) had their own lives. My daughters each in Canada and Australia.
My sister very sadly died of cancer after we had been in the area for only 4 years. My health gradually deteriorated so that I no longer could have a car. I was devastated and stuck on the Birdham rd!!!
So, after several lonely years there and feeling unable to access the sea, which I love, I made the decision, last Nov. to move to Selsey. Cue more lonely winter months until one day this Spring an unexpected miracle answered my prayers for friends and company! I saw a group of wet- looking people passing me on my mobility scooter! I asked if they’d been swimming……. The rest is history!
I have loved being able to get into the sea with SSBS members' help. I also love the friendly ‘Pings’ bringing news of many people I have yet to meet on Whatsapp. I feel reborn with renewed hope of being in contact with so many interesting and kind people.
In short, this group you founded has been a life- saver for me.
When I return from my trip to Canada on the 7th Sept after seeing my lovely family, I hope to be able to meet more of you more often!
You have all helped me to smile again.