Northumberland woman sets out on challenge to swim in the North Sea every day in February

A Northumberland woman is swimming in the North Sea every day in February to raise awareness of concussion.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 4:00 pm

Clare Jones, who lives near Alnwick, has an acquired brain injury from a concussion sustained when she fell off a tree swing three years ago.

To mark the third anniversary of the life-changing event, she is doing a dip a day – mostly at Low Newton – wearing a 2mm swimsuit, socks, gloves and hat.

“I’m pretty nervous about it,” she admitted. “It’s going to be an incredibly difficult challenge for me due to the sea temperature, and the impact it will have on my neuro-fatigue levels and symptoms.”

Open water swimmer Clare Jones.

February is when the sea temperature is at its coldest, ranging between 4-7C but the challenge is even greater when factoring in the biting winds and choppy water that can be expected at this time of year.

“It has always been in my nature to step outside my comfort zone, face challenges, get the adrenaline rush – but I’m not a particularly good swimmer,” admits Clare.

"I had a bit of a wipeout in the water on holiday a few years ago which put my off for a long time. It was only last year that I got back into it and joined a local open water swimming group who have made me feel really welcome.

"They have given me so much confidence and encouragement and that’s where the idea for this challenge came from.”

Clare Jones will be doing most of her swims at Low Newton. Picture: Karen Robinson

Prior to her accident, the 38-year-old had led a full and busy life, working full-time as a receptionist.

Then, on February 21, 2018 everything changed.

"I was sitting on the tree swing and the branch severed and I fell backwards on to a tree stump and hit my head,” she recalled.

"I wasn’t knocked unconscious or anything and thought I would be back at work later that day but it turned into nearly a year.”

Clare Jones, from Northumberland, who is swimming in the North Sea every day in February. Picture: Karen Robinson

Although she returned part-time, Clare still found it a struggle and had to quit.

"My day-to-day life has changed completely as a result of the accident,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to raise awareness of how serious concussion can be.”

She has raised £1,200 so far, with proceeds going to The Samaritans.

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