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Wild Wimmin Swimmin

1961. Jenny Paterson
1962. Heather Dewar

Jenny Paterson and Heather Dewar, from Clackmannanshire, founded ‘Wild Wimmin Swimmin’, a 3,000-member all-female group that seeks to revolutionise the health and wellbeing of women and girls through open water wild swimming and paddle-boarding.

Jenny Paterson and Heather Dewar

Jenny and Heather were both made redundant from their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but found that taking up wild swimming brought huge mental health benefits, as well as physical, and were inspired to start a group among their female friends organising socially distanced group swims for women of all abilities. The project quickly took off, with the pair now establishing a ‘Wild Wimmin Foundation’ to help break down barriers to participation in outdoor activities for women and girls, such as by purchasing equipment like wetsuits and paddleboard. ‘Wild Wimmin Swimmin’ has reached cancer survivors, people living with MS, fibromyalgia, and chronic arthritis, with many reporting that the benefits of joining the group have outweighed any medication that a medical professional could prescribe.

Jenny and Heather said:

“We are both surprised and delighted to be named as Points of Light by the Prime Minister in recognition of our efforts to help transform the health and wellbeing of Wimmin and Wee Wimmin in Scotland, one wild swim at a time. This award does not belong to us however, it belongs to the amazing, supportive and empowering community of ‘Wild Wimmin’ who have taken the plunge alongside us.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported us on our incredible journey thus far – we have BIG plans for the future of ‘Wild Wimmin’ and we hope that this award will encourage more Wimmin to dip their toe in the water and join us on the adventure.”

See more about ‘Wild Wimmin Swimmin’

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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