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Features / Meet the ‘wild weemin’ swimming every beach in Shetland

‘TOGETHER we are beating cancer’ the slogan goes, and six local women are doing exactly that – supporting each other while also raising thousands of pounds for a worthy cause.

‘Wild weemin’ Anita Georgeson, Jane Murphy, Glynis Harcus, Wendy Hatrick, Linda Moncrieff and Emma Knight have been cold water swimming every day this month to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Glynis said the group has been a lifeline to her, giving her mental and physical support while she is undergoing cancer treatment for the second time.

“I am just glad I am here, and glad that a great bunch of lasses are picking me up every single day,” she said while getting ready to dip into the sea at Lingness, in South Nesting, on Saturday afternoon.

The 60-year-old got the all clear from breast cancer in 2022 only to be told that a mammogram carried out later the same year picked up two new tumours.

These were removed in February to be followed by radiotherapy during the summer. “So, this is me on the mend for the second time,” she said.

“It has been a hard battle, also for the family. I lost my husband three years ago, also to cancer.

“The lasses are spurring me on, it is just unreal. I was in tears getting on to Ronas Hill, I’ve done it just to prove that I can do it, it has been hard.”

Over the last almost four weeks the six wild weemin have been to almost every accessible beach in Shetland, including the Lang Ayre which involves a major trek over Ronas Hill and a somewhat tricky abseil on to the beach itself.

“Glynis is our hero,” veteran fundraiser Anita Georgeson says as she sums up the strength of support within the group.

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They met at Bain’s Beach, a Lerwick sea swimming hotspot, where friendships for life were formed, and soon a plan was hatched.

Challenges like these are far more than just raising funds – they are also a way of coping with terrible loss and finding the positives in life.

Enjoying a dip at Lingness are (left to right): Linda Moncrieff, Glynis Harcus, Wendy Hatrick, Anita Georgeson, Jane Murphy, and Emma Knight. Photos: Shetland News

“I lost my father and best friend through cancer, and miss them so much, particularly at Christmas,” Anita said.

Two years ago, she organised a similar campaign raising over £12,000 for Cancer Research when she took a cold water dip every day in November.

“This time I wanted to cover as much of Shetland as we could, including the islands, because so many people across the isles have been affected by cancer,” she said.

So far, the six have already raised more than £8,000, and they are determined to have reached a five figure sum when they invite all cold water swimmers to join in for the big finale at Bain’s Beach on Sunday 10 December at 1.30pm, to be followed by soup and sandwiches, hot drinks and live music at the Lerwick Boating Club.

“Christmas is the time of giving,” Anita said. “If you donate to our appeal, you help give somebody a life, and that’s what matters at Christmas and at any other time of the year. Your donation will make a real difference.”

Donations can be made here

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