Swimmers take the plunge to support Traveller communities

Anna Wright from the Norfolk and Suffolk Diversity Swimmers who have been swimming in lakes and rive

Anna Wright from the Norfolk and Suffolk Diversity Swimmers who have been swimming in lakes and rivers throughout November to raise funds for charities supporting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Wild swimmers have made a splash by committing to a challenge across the region's waterways to raise awareness of Traveller communities.

Friends from the Norfolk and Suffolk Diversity Swimmers have completed a 'lucky numbers' challenge in open water throughout November.

Each member set themselves a swimming task based on the 'lucky numbers' three, five, seven and 21.

Some have been swimming on the 'lucky number' days, while others have swam for three, five, seven or 21 minutes.

On November 30, all the friends took part in a special swim to conclude the challenge, which saw them take the plunge near Cow Tower in Norwich.

The challenge was set to raise funds for organisations run by and working with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Imogen Radford, one of the organisers, said she had noticed discrimination and prejudice directed towards Traveller communities, particularly during the summer when there was tension around people travelling to the countryside and to coastal resorts.

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She added: "We've been brought together by a shared love of open water swimming and a commitment to standing up against racism and to raise awareness of the issues.

"Discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities has been called the last acceptable prejudice. Even people who consider themselves anti-racist don’t always realise the hurt and harm that can be caused, by repeating stereotypes and blaming the communities for litter or for travelling, as some have done during this busy and fraught summer." 

Jess Mathieson, one of the fundraisers, said: "This month has been absolutely fantastic and I cannot thank everyone enough for your support and swim escapades. We've really made something good come out of a drama. 

"My nan is Romani and she frequently speaks of the prejudice and abuse she has received because of her ethnicity. Prejudice towards traveller communities is still happening, and people are often unaware that this is a form of racism. To be able to raise awareness of these issues by dunking myself in cold water has been a privilege and I am overwhelmed by the support for the campaign so far."

To donate, visit sponsorme.co.uk/annawright/diversity-swim-for-gypsy-roma-and-traveller-community

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