Freezing for MS


Kit’s Cornish Splash for Barts-MS research

From her home in Cornwall, Catherine “Kit” Williams has been following Prof Gavin Giovannoni’s efforts to raise money to support Barts-MS Research by walking 5km while recovering from a fractured neck and pelvis.

And it’s left her concerned. 

“He has done his bit and got injured,” says Williams, a retired teacher. “I expect he thinks he’ll be OK, but it may be a little gung-ho. I don’t want him to get unzipped.”

Her solution? To launch her own fund-raising campaign to aid the same cause: the Barts Covid-19 MS Antibody Study in hopes of taking the pressure off Prof Giovannoni.

Williams aims to swim ten beaches in Cornwall, for ten minutes each before Christmas. She has set up her own JustGiving page: Kit’s Cornish Splash and has already started swimming.

Kit emerging from Charlestown Beach – note the thermal swim gloves

Like Professor Giovannoni, Williams faces her own challenges – though of a different kind. She is 72. She was officially diagnosed with MS in 2004 (“but I’m sure I had it for decades before”) and will be using public transport and ‘Shanks’ pony’ – walking – to get to the beaches.

Plus she’s running out of time. She does not own a wetsuit and the sea is getting, even by her standards, a bit nippy. “The temperature isn’t bad until Christmas, then it drops further and I don’t think I’ll be a pretty sight with blue legs doing my Ursula Andress impression.” 

For the blog’s younger readers unfamiliar with the reference please see the Swedish actress emerging from the surf in the Bond film Dr. No

When we spoke earlier in the week, Kit said the sea water temperature was hovering around 12°C or 53°F. To give you an idea how cold that is, British Triathlon discourages open water swimming if the water temperature dips below 11°C – and that is with a wetsuit on.

So spare a thought for Kit when you are firing up the central heating and think about donating to support her. It’s all for a good cause.

Please click here to sponsor Kit’s Cornish Splash.


About the author

Rachel Horne


  • Goođ luck with this crazy challenge Kit! Not once, but 10 times. Brrr 🤔 does it get any easier??

    Our family have this tradition that whenever near the sea a swim must be taken. Our daughter takes things to extremes and had us all in the Moray Firth (Nairn, near Inverness) one New Year’s Day. Never again.

By Rachel Horne



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