THE weather may have become decidedly autumnal over the last few weeks, but that didn’t deter swimmers from getting wet on Sunday (September 24) for a new fundraising event for Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA).

Two hundred and six open water swimmers took to the River Wye near Symonds Yat for the first Wild Wye Swim, which organisers hope will have raised around £3,000 for the rescue charity.

People travelled from Scotland, Devon and Oxford to take part in the event. Some 60 people swam 12km, from Kerne Bridge, near Ross-on-Wye, 83 signed up for the 7km event and 53 adults and 10 children swam 1km, all finishing at Huntsham Bridge near Goodrich.

The leading 12km swimmers completed the course in about 90 minutes, thanks to the steady current, and were met at the swim exit by fully equipped SARA swift water rescuers.  Back on dry land they received a commemorative towel together with refreshments.

A spokesperson for SARA said: “It wasn’t a race and we got really good feedback about the fact that it was quite relaxed. The river got a lot colder in the last two weeks but people came prepared and most of them coped well with the cold water.

“It was also the first whole team event for all five SARA stations. It involved Beachley, Sharpness and Tewksbury, which all cover the Forest of Dean area, as well as Newport and Kidderminster rescue teams. We all provided safety cover on the banks and in the water.

“It was great for us to enable so many people to swim in this beautiful but wild river with a good level of safety cover.

“We are very grateful to the local community and landowners for enabling this event to take place. We’d also like to thank our sponsors Suntory Lucozade Ribena in Coleford, Chepstow Tesco and Delta Marine.

“It was a really successful event and people really enjoyed it. We hope to announce plans for next year soon.”

Details of the event can be found at and To donate to SARA visit