Weekly news in Fairford and Lechlade by Chris Roberts MBE.  

1. Brave Maxine to ice swim for bereavement charity 

Maxine Rose, who lives in Lechlade, is planning to join the Winter Swimming World Championships in Estonia next month.

She will be taking part in the Head Up 25m Breaststroke and the world record attempt for the largest ICE swimming relay team.

The goal is to set a new world record for the largest group of ICE swimmers in one single relay and it’s hoped to have 1000 swimmers participating in the relay team at Noblessner Harbour in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

The previous record was set in 2020 with 505 swimmers.

The Championships will take place from March 4-10 and the record-breaking ICE swimming relay taking place on March 8-9 through the night, with water temperatures being anything from 3oC to minus 3oC and the ambient outside temperature being around minus 17oC.

Maxine, who is allowed to wear only a regular swimsuit and a latex cap, is embarking on this challenge to support Cruse Bereavement who helped her cope with the loss of eight family members over a traumatic two-year period.

Despite having had three severe bouts of Covid and long Covid, Maxine decided to take up open water swimming and joined the Gloucestershire Bluetits Chill Swimming group.

There she met other strong women who helped her build up her confidence and other techniques for cold water swimming, and a friend from the Cotswold Voices Choir taught her the skills needed to breathe properly whilst in the water.

One year later, Maxine was selected to join the Global Bluetit Swim Team sponsored by Saga and Charlie McLeod and invited to attend the championships. Maxine saw this as a great opportunity to raise funds for Cruse Bereavement Support.

Maxine is certain that swimming and Cruse Bereavement helped her when she needed it most and she wants to take part in the championships not to win but to give something back to Cruse Bereavement, who “reached in and threw me a rope at my darkest hour,” said Maxine.

To take part in this challenge requires a huge amount of training and money to cover travel costs, accommodation, kit and insurance, so Maxine is trying to raise at least £3,500.

The money will be divided 50/50 between sponsoring Maxine’s costs and donating to Cruse Bereavement.

Any funds in excess of £3,500 will also go to Cruse. To donate: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/iceicebabywinterchampionships2024

2. Beavers win special award 

There was cause for celebration at Fairford Beavers’ Club last week when the Bronze Chief Scout Award was presented to a Beaver for the first time since the Unit restarted in June 2023.

Oliver Baaklini (7) from Fairford received the highest award a Beaver can earn and was presented with the award by the District Commissioner, Neil Hatton at the 1st Fairford Scout Hut, Fairford.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

There were other presentations on the same night when four new Beaver members took part in an Investiture ceremony, made their Scout Promise and were presented with their Group scarves and fleur-de-lys badges. Several other young Beavers received their activity badges.

Volunteer leaders, behind-the-scenes helpers and more scouts, cubs and beavers are currently needed in all the Cotswold District venues – Stratton, Cirencester, South Cerney, Lechlade and Fairford.

If you are interested in joining as a volunteer or you have a child that would like to be a scout, cub or beaver, please contact Neil Hatton on neil.hatton@cotswoldscouts.org.uk or fairfordbeavers@gmail.com.

3. Working 4 Wellbeing events 

Working 4 Wellbeing have the following events taking place: A Peer Movement Class on Wednesdays from 9.30am-10am in Fairford Community Centre; First Steps every Friday from 9.30am-11am in Fairford United Church, Milton Street and the Warm Working Space is available every Friday from 10am-1pm in the Warm Welcome Room in Fairford Community Centre. To find out more, contact Mary Ann on 07555 738138.

A six-week course of digital support for beginners will start on Tuesday February 20 in Fairford Community Centre. Organised by Working 4 Wellbeing. Places are limited to eight people on each course, so please register your interest in the first Fairford Getting Connected course as soon as possible. From 10am-12 noon: digital technology (phone, tablet) using Apple (iPad, iPhone, iMac). From 1pm-3pm: digital technology using Android (Samsung phone, other smart phones, notebooks, laptops). Lunch is provided free of charge for course participants from 12 noon-1pm.

Volunteers of all ages with digital technology knowledge and skills, who may like to help on the courses, are also welcome. To find out more or to sign up, contact Mary Ann at Working 4 Wellbeing: 07555 738138 or email kate.holland@publicagroup.uk.

4. Fairford Walk and Talk

Fairford Walk & Talk Group is a safe space to get active, build new friendships and have a good old chat along the way.

No commitment needed – just a good pair of shoes! Meet at the Hare by the car park in Fairford on Saturdays at 9.30am and Sundays at 10am. For more information, contact Tracey Fairbanks on 07872 337469.

5. Talking cafes 

The Fairford and Lechlade Talking Cafés are organized by Working 4 Wellbeing.

The Fairford one is on every Wednesday from 10.30am-12 noon in Fairford Community Centre and the Lechlade Talking Café is on every Thursday from 10.30am-2pm with a warm meal in the Warm Welcome Room at Lechlade Baptist Church. To find out more, contact Mary Ann on 07555 738138.

6. Meetings for several groups

The next meeting of Lechlade WI is on Thursday February 15 and is Evening Drinks at the New Inn, Lechlade starting at 7pm.

Meetings of Lechlade & District Probus Club are held on the first and third Fridays of each month at 10am for 10.30am in Lechlade Memorial Hall. Talks last up to an hour and are followed by refreshments from the bar.

The next meeting is Friday February 16 with Dr Kate Bellamy talking about ‘To sleep perchance to dream’ – the neuroscience of sleep. For more information, please contact Brian Rudge on 01367 615044.

The next Lechlade History Society meeting will be on Monday February 19 in Lechlade Memorial Hall. The speaker will be Bill King telling the fascinating story of the bicycle entitled: ‘On Two Wheels’.

The bicycle can be considered one of the greatest inventions providing mobility to millions of people across the world and providing the basis for the development of the motorcycle and motor car. Tea and coffee served at 7pm with the talk starting at 7.30pm.

Little Lights, the baby/pre-school pram service and play group, will take place at St Lawrence Church, Lechlade on Wednesday February 21.

Doors open at 9.15am and pack up is at 11am. No charge and no need to book. This is run by the Mothers’ Union and all refreshments are provided. For information, please contact Kathy Newton on 07508 563905.