Australian’s chilly dip raises �275 for Seaton hospital

Dianne Bevan, 68, presents a giant cheque to the League of Friends after her memorial swim

A 68-year-old woman who travelled from sun-drenched Australia to go swimming at chilly Seaton has presented hospital supporters with a cool �275.

Dianne Bevan pledged to brave the icy waters when she arranged to visit old friends and former colleagues at Whitford over Christmas.

But the playful challenge took on a sad new significance when one of those two pals – Gail Nunan- developed cancer and died last October.

As a result Dianne’s swim became a legacy to her old friend – and a money raiser for Seaton Hospital League of Friends who furnished the hospice ward where she died.

Last week Dianne handed over the money raised from her Boxing Day dip – a cheque for �200 plus an additional �75 - to League volunteers Paddy Taylor and Pam Page.

Dianne said accepting her old friend Gail’s challenge was no problem.

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“When she asked you to do something you did it!” she said. “But I really enjoyed the swim – it was such a big high.”

Mrs Page said: “I am full of admiration for Dianne to come all this way and go into the sea in memory of Gail – it was absolutely marvellous and the money will be put to good use.”

Gail and her friend, Maggie Patterson, worked with Dianne at Gosford Hospital in New South Wales, Australia, before they retired to England in 1998.

They lived at Wombat Hollow before Gail was diagnosed with cancer in March, last year, and began a painful battle with the disease that finally claimed her life. She was 71.

Said Maggie: “Two years earlier Gail had called Dianne – a great swimmer - to challenge her to go in the sea when she came to visit us at Christmas and she promised she would do it. In the end it became a swim in her memory.”

Praising Whitford villagers for their amazing support she added: “This is a wonderful village – there is just such a feeling of camaraderie and friendship.”