Charity open water swim raises almost £300k for lifesaving research

MORE than 1,200 swimmers took to the sea recently, to raise an incredible £288,000 for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in the 2024 Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim. 

The determined participants zipped up their wetsuits and snapped on their goggles to swim the 1.4 miles between Bournemouth and Boscombe Pier to help the charity fund ground-breaking research into new treatments and cures for heart and circulatory diseases.          

Sponsors, JAZZ™ Apples, made sure they were at the core of the event with their fruitful new addition to Bournemouth Beach, their giant apple buoy.  

The team from JAZZ™ Apples were also on hand to cheer swimmers over the finish line. They handed out goody bags packed with delicious, tangy-sweet JAZZ™ Apples and a finisher’s t-shirt for participants in need of a refreshing lift.     

The charity swim, which is one of the largest open water swimming events in Europe, saw Swimmers from a variety of ages, backgrounds and swimming experience, make a splash in Bournemouth for the event’s 33rd year.      

Many participants had emotive reasons for taking part, such as Alistair Dunscombe, 37, who was swimming for the eighth year in memory of his best friend Paul Stephens. 

Tragically, Paul died from a shock heart attack after his 31st birthday celebrations – an age he sadly never got to reach.  

Having had no known prior heart conditions, the 30-year-old’s passing was unexpected and took a great toll on his family and friends. Alistair said:

“Doing the event is my way of remembering Paul and channelling the grief of losing my best friend. I let it all out there in the sea. It’s my time to think about him, to reflect and be emotional.  

“Every year we have a ritual of going down to the beach in the morning and watching the BHF flags go up. Seeing them prepare for the swim helps us prepare. The BHF and the swim helped me honour Paul’s life and our friendship. 

“I vow to do this event for as many years as I am physically able to. As soon as the event places open, I sign up immediately. I’m so inspired by the 70 and 80-year-olds who do it, and I always think  I want to be doing it at that age too.”  

Supported by Events Water Safety, the swimmers were guided safely around the course and met with cheers on Boscombe Beach.   

Kate Sparks, Senior Events Manager at the BHF, added:

“It was fantastic to see the passion and determination of our swimmers on Saturday. Every stroke they have taken helps to fund lifesaving research and without their commitment, we wouldn’t be able to help revolutionise treatments and transform the lives of millions of people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases.   

“For those who are feeling inspired to take the plunge, entries are now open for next year’s Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim, so we’d urge everyone to sign up now to help us fund vital research to save and improve more lives.”      

Since it was first held in 1992, more than 34,000 people have taken part in the BHF swim helping to raise around £4 million for research into heart and circulatory conditions.  

Hannah McIlfratrick, Commercial Director at Worldwide Fruit Ltd, exclusive suppliers of JAZZ™ apples:

“It was fantastic to partner with the BHF for their Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim again and see so many inspirational swimmers on the day taking part to raise much-needed funds for their research.  

“To greet the swimmers as they crossed the finish line with a JAZZ™ apple goody bag and see so many participants biting into a refreshing JAZZ™ apple after the race was fantastic for the brand and the event was great to be involved in. We also received a lot of compliments on our new, 7-foot apple that caught the attention of all swimmers and spectators!” 

To find out more about Bournemouth Pier to Pier 2025 and register your interest visit the BHF website here.