A BASINGSTOKE woman has raised more than £1,500 for a local cancer charity through courageous swims in the open wearing just a swimsuit in temperatures below zero and in the snow, ice, rain and wind.

Kay Alsop, Operations Manager at The Pink Place, which offers free wellbeing support and services to North Hampshire adults affected by cancer. set out in the winter every week to swim in open sea at Calshot Beach, Hampshire.

Kay posted her weekly challenge on social media to continue raising funds during the Coronavirus pandemic and, as the country went into second national lockdown, she swam in her inflatable swimming pool in her garden despite the snow, ice and wind - still just wearing a swimsuit.

Kay said: “I felt it necessary to do whatever it took to continue raising funds to keep the charity’s vital services running for adults affected by a cancer diagnosis during the toughest time ever encountered in history."

Christine Griffiths, fundraising and events manager at The Pink Place, added: “As we went into the first national lockdown all our fundraising events froze instantly and it was down to us to come up with creative ways to raise funds while restrictions were tough for the charity.

“We also discovered that people were not reaching into their pockets as easily as they did when our doors were open and so raising funds ‘virtually’ didn’t generate as much as our usual Calendar of Fundraising Events."

She continued: "All these things posed a challenge for us, while still supporting the many adults diagnosed with cancer, but we were very thankful to everyone who raised funds for us in their own individual way.

“Now that restrictions are beginning to lift and outdoor fundraising events are starting, we are counting on our supporters to fundraise for the charity through the various events."

Currently, the team are urgently looking for runners for the ‘2021 Festival 5K’, its firt fundraiser of the year.

Kay's challenge was part of the charity’s MOVE-ember fundraiser in 2020, its first ‘virtual’ event, and was completed in December.

Kay decided to continue raising funds with her challenge despite the weather and lockdown conditions becoming tougher. The ‘Chill Swim’ was completed once the target was smashed at £1,565.95.

If you would like to know how you can raise funds for The Pink Place to continue its vital work, please contact the charity on 07899 970841 or email events@thepinkplace.org.uk