14 August 2020

Cold and COVID couldn't stop nude swimmers getting behind Lifeline

| Michael Weaver
Cheque presentation of $19,270 from Winter Solstice Swim

From left, the late Ian Lindeman’s wife Gwenda, swimmer Peter Lindeman, organiser Ben Johnston, swimmer Geoff Arney, Winter Solstice Nude Charity Swim secretary Pam Howarth, and Lifeline CEO Carrie Leeson. Photos: Michelle Kroll

The power of two swimmers who bared all in Lake Burley Griffin has helped raise more than $19,000 from this year’s Winter Solstice Nude Charity Swim.

The cheque for all the money raised from this year’s swim was presented to Lifeline this week.

A record 170 people dropped their daks last year in sub-zero temperatures for the charity swim, and organiser of the Winter Solstice Nude Charity Swim Ben Johnston was expecting more than double the turnout this year.

But due to COVID-19 restrictions, only two swimmers, Peter Lindeman and Geoff Arney, were able to brave the relatively balmy seven degrees Celsius water in Lake Burley Griffin on the morning of 21 June, the official Winter Solstice.

READ ALSO Nude swimmers defy COVID and cold to support Lifeline

This year’s Winter Solstice swim was also the first held in memory of the founder of the event, Ian Lindeman, who died last year following a battle with liver cancer.

Ian’s wife Gwenda gave her blessing for this year’s event, and she stood proud on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin as the two other founding members of the swim, Ian’s brother Peter and friend Geoff Arney, took to the water in Ian’s honour.

COVID-19 restricted the Winter Solstice Nude Swim to just two participants – Rohan Lindeman and Geoff Arney. Photo: supplied.

Mr Johnston said Ian would also have been proud of the community’s response, raising almost $20,000 from this year’s swim.

“We really showed that the event must continue and I’m sure Ian would be very happy to know that we’ve been able to continue what he started in 2017,” Mr Johnston said.

“To even create the event this year and then get the result we did is very satisfying.

“We’ve also got a committee together now who have helped get us registered so that people’s donations can be properly recognised, so we’ll definitely be looking forward to seeing the usual large numbers of people take part in next year’s charity swim.”

Gwenda Lindeman and Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson.

Gwenda Lindeman and Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson.

The money raised will help Lifeline Canberra support another 740 calls to their crisis support helpline (13 11 14), and Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson said she was touched by the human spirit during this year’s charity swim.

“Ben and the committee really rallied around Gwenda this year, and she was standing on the side of the lake with a laugh and a tear in her eye at the same time.

“I think in a lot of ways it exemplifies what so many of us have endured this year and how we have had to dig deep to overcome any trauma.

“So for people to dig deep in the way they have and raise this amount of money is really special, as Lifeline relies so much on community support to run our service,” Ms Leeson said.

People who still want to donate to the charity swim or find out more can do so on the Winter Solstice Nude Charity Swim website. One hundred per cent of donations go to Lifeline.

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on The RiotACT.

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