St Andrews sea-swimming group raise £6,000 for local charity

Around 100 hardy women braved the cold for a dip in the North Sea at Kingsbarns Beach in Fife to mark International Women’s Day 2024.

MEMBERS of a St Andrews sea-swimming group who organised an International Women’s Day
charity event have raised £6000 for women and children in their community who have
experienced domestic abuse or violence.

The swim group, Bob & Blether, has 80 members and was set up in 2022 by six friends – Jamie
Craig-Gentles, Caroline Blair, Alyson Vale, Amy Pickles, Carly Scott and Jayne McGhie.
Together they organised a half-day retreat for over 100 women, which was supported by several
local female-led businesses. All proceeds have been donated to Dundee Women’s Aid.
The event, held on Friday 8 March to mark International Women’s Day, started with a 6am
swimrise – or ‘dook’ – in the waters off Kingsbarns beach. This was followed by hot drinks from
James Coffee and optional sessions with Wild Scottish Sauna. The group then convened at
Cambo House nearby, where they enjoyed breakfast supplied by Taste St Andrews; Bliss Bites;
and Cambo Cafe. This was followed by a 90-minute inspirational workshop led by motivational
speaker Bunny Loveschock before indoor yoga sessions with Jana Yoga and outdoor body
movement activities with WildStrong.

Tickets, a JustGiving page, branded merchandise and goodie bags with donations from Jayne
McGhie Skin; The Crystal Shop St Andrews; Cambo Estate; North Sea Gifts by D; St Andrews
Golf Camp; and Bliss Bites all contributed to the overall total of £6000. The event was filmed by
Dylan Drummond – the video can be viewed here (video available on request) – and
photographed by Rachel at ShootSweet (images available on request).

Jamie said: “It takes courage to plunge into the North Sea and when we do it together there is a
sense of camaraderie in braving the elements together, side-by-side.

“In the water – and out – we have built a community of women who care about each other. In a
busy, often lonely, world we know how important connection is and Bob & Blether has become a
safe and trusting place for women to share and to lean.”

Caroline added: “We cannot begin to imagine the courage it takes to seek help or escape
abuse. We, as women, want to do whatever we can to support other women and their children
in our community who have experienced domestic harm and violence.”

Gillian Boland, Deputy CEO of Dundee Women’s Aid said: “We are deeply grateful for the
extraordinary generosity in raising over £6000 for Dundee Women’s Aid.

“Bob & Blether’s support will have a profound impact on the lives of women, children and young
people, providing them with vital resources and services they urgently require.”

She added: “Their contribution exemplifies compassion and solidarity and we are incredibly
thankful for their partnership in our mission to support and empower women and their families in
our community who are impacted by domestic abuse.”

This year’s Bob & Blether International Women’s Day fundraiser followed on from last year’s
inaugural event, which saw 70 women brave freezing temperatures of -7 degrees celsius for an
early morning sea swim at Castle Sands, St Andrews. The 2023 event raised over £3600 for
Dundee Women’s Aid.

Caroline said: “Our wonderful members inspire and motivate us to do as much as we can to
help others within our community. With their support we have raised nearly £10,000 for Dundee
Women’s Aid in the last two years.”

“Our community is diverse and each member has their own unique reason for getting in the
water whether that be for a social connection; to aid physical or mental wellbeing; ease study
stress; or support the transition through menopause. The one thing we all share is a desire to
come together and help others.”

Jamie added: “Bob & Blether started when I introduced Caroline to cold water swimming. From
there we now have a community of over 80 members, led by a committee of six women, all
determined to help charities in our area and beyond. This is only the beginning though and we
have exciting plans afoot that will ensure that growth continues.”

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