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The Rivers Trust Big Give
Environment,  FEATURES,  NEWS

Join our editor Ella Foote in conversation with Lindsey Cole and Becca Harvey

Learn how the outdoor swimming community has become a crucial voice in the protection of our rivers and find out how we can do more to help at The Big Give: Swimming Stories webinar on 28 November

To mark the opening day of The Rivers Trust’s Big Give campaign, the river charity is bringing together an inspirational group of women who can all speak firsthand about how the outdoor swimming community has become a crucial voice for the protection of our rivers.

From swimming an ice mile to tugging a giant poo sculpture along the Bristol Avon, Becca Harvey and Lindsey Cole are both swimmers who love an adventure – and a challenge. With a plethora of tales to tell, they are open about the difficulties in life that swimming has helped them to deal with, but also fierce advocates for the health of waterways and the wider environment.

Giving the rivers a voice

The outdoor swimming community has become a crucial voice in demanding better for rivers. The incredible mental and physical benefits of swimming have to be weighed against concerns over the harmful effects of pollution. Whilst any outdoor swimmer is accustomed to assessing risk, water pollution threatens the spontaneity and feeling of freedom that attracts so many people to the water.

On 28 November at 6.30pm, Becca and Lindsey will be joined for this special evening event by Outdoor Swimmer editor Ella Foote for a warm, informal conversation celebrating all the things we love about river swimming, and discussing why outdoor swimming and environmental advocacy go hand in hand. Here’s more information about these incredible swimmers:

Lindsey Cole

Lindsey is a cold water swimmer, adventurer, environmentalist, writer, and public speaker. From swimming the River Thames to highlight plastic pollution to cycling the length of Africa to watch the World Cup, she is willing to give anything a go, especially if it’s a chance to turn a negative situation into a positive one. She has a background in journalism and documentary-making, and her latest children’s book is The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo.

Becca Harvey

Becca started swimming after a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis. Since then, she has been well and truly caught by the outdoor swimming bug, qualifying as an open water lifeguard and completing extreme ice miles. She is also a British Diver’s Marine Life Rescue Mammal Medic. She is fully trained by the charity to respond to callouts in her local area to help marine mammals in need. This can range from caring for injured seals to babysitting walruses.

The Rivers Trust is hosting this virtual event as part of their Big Give campaign, where they are aiming to raise £75,000 between 28 November and 5 December. During this week, any donation to The Rivers Trust made through the Big Give will be doubled with match funding. Please support them to carry out their river restoration work by donating at

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Abi writes swimming news stories and features for the Outdoor Swimmer website and manages the social media channels. She loves to swim, run, hike and SUP close to her home in Herefordshire. While she’s a keen wild swimmer, Abi is new to the world of open water events and recently completed her first open water mile. She has previously written for The Guardian, BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Ernest Journal.