'You will feel like a superhero': Edinburgh writer plans icy fundraiser to celebrate International Woman's Day

An Edinburgh writer isn’t letting coronavirus restrictions stand in her way as she plans this years icy plunge for International Woman’s Day.

By Rachel Mackie
Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 7:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 2:17 pm

Anna Deacon is hoping that, despite not being able to meet up in person, women across the city – and the country – will still be able to come together to raise money for local women’s charities.

She explains: “In 2019 I had an idea to do a group sunrise swim on International Women’s Day and put an invite out to my swim group, to my amazement 70 women turned up and we had the most wonderful experience, we swam as the sun came up, drank coffee, ate pastries, made new friends, hugged, danced a conga to warm up and it was just such a bonding experience.

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International Women's Day fundraiser on previous years. Credit: Anna Deacon

“We were really keen to do the same in 2020 and so many people asked me what we had planned, so I thought perhaps we could use this as a way to raise money.

"So we organised an event at Portobello beach, but this time we put the invite out across the world through the Outdoor Swimming Society Facebook group and 82 groups around the world also did a sunrise swim and raised money for their local charities too.

“It felt like we were connected to all these women across the UK and beyond, all sharing their stories with one another, doing something that felt really empowering and also raising money for a really important cause at the same time.

“In Edinburgh alone we had more than 300 swimmers and we raised over £3,000 for Edinburgh Women's Aid, many more thousands were raised by the other groups.”

Anna is hoping that, despite the pandemic, women will still get involved, and has come up with an alternative plan to the Porty swim.

She said: “I thought we would invite people to have an icy bath, or a cold shower, or a swim if they are cold water acclimatised.

“We want people to donate what they can to a wonderful local women's charity like Edinburgh Women's Aid, Scottish Rape Crisis, Homestart or Multi Cultural Family Base who work a lot with minority ethnic communities in Edinburgh, helping women effected by gender based violence and Female Genial Mutilation.

"To make it more fun and enticing we are encouraging people to dress up in fancy dress or get creative and take a fun selfie, we have an amazing selection of prizes donated to us from swim companies.”

Anna has asked that anyone who dresses up for the challenge take a snap of themselves and tag it on Instagram with @wildswimmingstories for a chance to win a prize.

For anyone nervous about leaping into an icy bath or shower, Anna has some words of encouragement: “You will feel like a superhero if you do it, cold water (even just a blast in the shower) increases your feel good hormones and gives you a huge boost.

“It is known to help combat depression, anxiety, stress, pain due to inflammation and more.

“Doing something good for someone else is also a surefire way to give yourself joy so donate what you can and feel great for it.”

International Women’s Day is on March 8. To donate to Anna’s fundraiser for Edinburgh Women’s Aid, click here.

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