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Sea bathing as honouring

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

October's gathering blew me away. We had 32 people show up, which was quite astounding considering the weather conditions leading up to the day. But the clouds parted, the sun shone and it was a beautiful morning. Here's a video of our time together, hope you enjoy it!

For me, the event was always in honour of Lorna Priddis, Sue's dear aunt. She was not my relative but had a huge influence on my life and was, in part, the inspiration for setting up the Selsey Sea Bathing Society. She swam as often as she could throughout the year, and in the summer on most days, right into old age. I love the story about her leaving the school she taught at, in Rose Green, at lunchtime on her bike to go swimming when the other teachers just stayed on site. As a result, she returned refreshed and rejuvenated for the afternoon! Inspiring stuff! I only knew her in the latter years of her life and not in her prime, but that was enough to influence me for what I believe, will be the rest of my life. As she grew older, she would come and watch me swim, revelling in the experience she could no longer partake in, but would enjoy as an onlooker just the same.

She raised a huge amount for charity and helped to fund the Selsey Health Centre and First Responders. She would stand on the streets of Chichester, dressed up in one of her fabulous outfits from her stage shows (she set up and ran the hugely successful charity, the Selsey Variety Club) and was given an award by Princess Diana for all her hard work. I wrote this poem in her honour after our swim and wanted to share it with you.

You’re the wind I feel

Whistling through my hair

On my back

It pushes me along

My bike and I

Navigating the back streets of Selsey

You’re in the air that I breathe

And the sea that stretches out before me

Full, clear, bright and full of promise

You are the waves that now lap about me

As I dive in

Thinking of you and all the joy and opportunity

You have brought to my life

You’re in the food that I eat

A roast on a Sunday at the Rivi

The man who once served you

Now serves me as I grow old

He smiles and makes polite chat about the weather

Life goes on here without you

But you are not forgotten

You are in the memories I have

As I sleep in your house

And look out to see and watch the fishermen

Bob about on the waves

You are in the vulnerability I feel

The adventures I will decide upon

And the places I will choose to visit

You’re in the life that I lead

The decisions that I make

And all that I see

Today as I write

You would have been 100

I wonder where you are now

And what you do

As I listen to your soft voice

On the old cassette we’ve just discovered

Your voice calls out into the room

You talk about your time in Kathmandu

You are in our sadness

You are in our joy

But most of all

You teach us still, how to live a life

Of promise

Of kindness

A life full of joy

As well as that, we also had a lovely lady called Katie Jones join us along with her friends, Selsey locals Wendy and Hannah. They wanted to celebrate the young life of Katie's son William, who recently took his own life aged 18. He loved the sea and I believe the RNLI were involved in trying to save him, so they also came along to take photos of us enjoying all the sea had to offer. It was an honour for our little society to be able to help join Katie in some of her long journey to healing. Here are some pictures of the day and thank you to those who put some pennies in the charity pot. This will be going to the RNLI in honour of William.

And thanks also to Ralph for his fabulous lemon drizzle cake! We are so lucky to have a baker amongst us who gives his time, effort and ingredients for nothing. Thank you Ralph.

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