Forty cold water swims to raise money for charity

Torbay Weekly

A well-known Veteran Torbay fundraiser is once again taking the plunge to raise money for one of his favourite charities.

Father Gary Deighton will be marking Lent with 40 daily cold water swims in the sea, often joined by well-known faces from around the Bay, including MP Kevin Foster.

The marathon attempt started on Ash Wednesday (March 2nd), when he was joined by Maria Goodwin, the CEO of YMCA South Devon, which runs his chosen charity, NightStop, a new service protecting young homeless by providing emergency overnight accommodation.

Gary was also joined for his first swim by the headteacher of Collaton St Mary Church of England Primary School, Ben Nelson-Smith, whose pupils will be doing various projects on homelessness during Lent.

Back in 2017, Fr Gary, the Vicar of Goodrington and Collaton St Mary, decided to raise awareness of homelessness by sleeping on the streets for the whole of Lent whilst raising nearly £6,000 for homeless charities.

“That was a tough one and I can’t say that I am looking forward to this challenge either! I know some people are into wild swimming, but I am not one of them and that sea is cold,“ said Fr. Gary.

“I will be looking to vicars in the area as well as community leaders to come and join me. There is only one rule – no wetsuits.”

He came up with the idea when he joined other parishioners for a dip on Boxing Day, when ironically the sea was considerably warmer and their efforts raised £1500 for a local food bank.

As well as raising money, 60-year-old Fr. Gary, who is one of the trustees of YMCA South Devon, wants to raise awareness of the plight of homeless young people and hopefully recruit more host families to be on call when needed.

So far, since Nighstop launched on December 15th hosts have provided 21 bed nights in their homes for young people who needed an immediate bed for the night, for a whole host of reasons.

To become a host, please ring the YMCA on 01803 551578 and to join the SleepEasy sleep out, visit the website