The Magpie Anthology


It’s only the hardiest (or silliest) souls who would pledge to do a daily swim for a whole year – and a ‘wild’ one at that. But Madi Dew and her friend Kim Ballard are doing just that and it’s all in memory of a dear friend.

Come rain or come shine, you’ll find Madi and Kim doing their daily dip. It all started when Madi lost one of her friends in March of this year after struggling with mental health, addiction problems and homelessness for many years. “I just wanted to do something in memory of him, to raise some awareness about mental health problems and also some money. We used to spend a lot of time surfing and in the sea and he’d have loved to have been doing this with us. I wanted it to be a real challenge and sea related and so I decided to do this for a year, I thought of doing a marathon but actually I wanted it to be a bit more than that. So, I suggested to my friend Kim that we do this together and she said yes and so off we went. Kim works for Lloyds Bank and they have a charity of the year and this year it’s Mental Health UK and they’ll match anything their employees raise up to £500 and that was partly why Kim agreed!

The venue for the dip varies depending on childcare (they both have young children) and fitting it around jobs and daily life – on working days it’s just after six in the morning in the dark at this time of year. They also frequent sheltered slipways and at the weekends try to do a different Isle of Wight beach. “On Sunday mornings we’ve created a little swimming group in Gurnard, which is another really positive knock on effect from the daily dip and we’re getting lots of people involved. I feel like it’s had quite a profound effect on people – my mum for instance never used to go swimming in the sea and now she’s going in a few times a week, we’ve made new friends and people have found us through Instagram and joined us.” Friends are also joining in with Polly doing the ‘weekly wade’ even whilst on holiday in France and a chap called Mark who joins in on a Sunday who is an experienced sea swimmer but loves to have company while swimming.

The girls have quite an array of swimming costumes by all accounts (and evidence on Instagram) to add a little more interest to the swims. “Our favourite one has to be the Wonder Woman bikini,” laughs Madi, “But we also have dinosaur printed suits made from recycled ocean plastics by a company called Batoko who are a really cool British company and they’ve also been very supportive and sponsored us.” The deal between Madi and Kim is they’ll swim every day no matter what or where and they have swum in London at the Royal Docklands Open Water Swimming amongst other places but if they have no access to water on holiday or are ill then they’ll nominate someone to swim for them.

Research shows that cold water bathing is good for mental health (even if you give yourself a quick blast in the shower). Madi says, “The feeling of swimming in cold water seems to free you, and reset your mind. By dipping in the sea or a lake you connect with the landscape around you completely which in modern life happens less and less, and is so healing for your mind, it also helps to find some like- minded people who encourage your madness!” So get out there and get swimming.

At the time of writing, Madi and Kim are on day 114 of 365. And the winter is still in front of them. They plan Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day swims and hope that on those holiday days that lots of people will join them. Hardy, yes. Brave, absolutely. And seriously awesome, definitely!

To donate to the fund please give your pennies HERE

Follow Madi and Kim on Instagram: madidoingthedailydip and kimdoingthedailydip

Words: Shellie Miles

Pictures: Madi Dew


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