Kenwood Ladies’ Pond team set for Lido charity plunge to help homelessness charity Crisis

Nicky Mayhew and Mary Powell ahead of the Parliament Hill Lido Icebreaker challenge. Picture: Mary P

Nicky Mayhew and Mary Powell ahead of the Parliament Hill Lido Icebreaker challenge. Picture: Mary Powell - Credit: Archant

Four Ladies’ Pond swimmers are preparing to brave the cold January waters of Parliament Hill Lido as part of a fundraiser for homelessness charity Crisis.

Nicky Mayhew, Pauline McCulloch, Opi Bell and Mary Powell are taking part in the charity's annual Icebreaker Challenge which will see fancy dress-clad swimmers dive in for a relay race on January 25.

The women, all members of the Kenwood Ladies' Pond Association (KLPA) who have either a personal or professional connection to homelessness outreach, will take turns to swim a width each at the Lido.

Mary told Heathwatch: "We are all committed to doing what we can to support Crisis' aim of ending homelessness in the UK.

"Cold water swimming in order to raise funds is an ideal opportunity for regular swimmers at Kenwood Ladies' Pond, and it is also a sharp reminder of the temperatures being endured by many people who are sleeping on the streets, or who are badly housed."

The quartet, who are all used to swimming in the wilder surroundings of the Ladies' Pond, were "looking forward" to the dip, Mary told this newspaper, as a way of making a real difference.

She explained that the idea of it being so cold in the water, even for a short period, would highlight the plight of those without a roof over their heads. Both Mary and Nicky spent Christmastime volunteering with Crisis' residential centres.

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Would-be swimmers can still make a rash decision and sign up for the charity event, which runs at the Parliament Hill Lido from 11 until 1.

After the £25 entry fee, swimmers are ancouraged to get friends and family involved by sponsoring their involvement, as all the money raised will go to support Crisis' year-round work to "help people leave homelessness behind for good".

Fancy dress during the plunge is "encouraged, but optional".

You can take the challenge either on your own or in a time of four like the women from the KLPA, and while swimming the lengths is the idea, Crisis are quite happy for volunteers to just jump in!

It is not too late to sign up, see while the KLPA team are desperate to boost their fundraising total. To help them out, go to