Gritty Buxton mum takes frosty dips every day in December for homeless

A Buxton mum-of-two is taking an icy dip at freezing outdoor swimming spots every day in December to raise money for homeless charity Shelter.

Debbie Rushworth, 52, says she took on the chilly challenge because rough sleepers ‘don’t have the luxury of returning home to a warm shower’.

A video shows the hardy High Peak woman under a frigid shower at a waterfall in the Kinder River which she said ‘was really cold because the water was pummeling my head’.

However she has also bathed at Three Shires Head on the Derbyshire-Staffordshire border and taken a numbing swim in a pond near Lightwood Reservoir during a blizzard.

Debbie Rushworth prepares for the plunge

During the reservoir swim the water temperature was just three degrees celsius - with a minus-five degrees windchill.

However Debbie describes the experience as ‘invigorating’.

She said: “Without a wetsuit you certainly feel the difference but during the year you acclimatise as the weather gets colder.

“It feels nice and really invigorating - it’s a really refreshing way to start the day.”

Debbie Rushworth with fellow swimmer Judith Bradford-Knox

Social prescriber Debbie meets friends in the early morning for her wintry plunges before returning home to begin work.

She said: “Because it’s first thing in the morning and we’re not getting out as normal it’s nice to see a friend first thing in the morning and have a really invigorating start to the day.”

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Debbie plans to complete a swim every day until December 31, adding: “So far it’s good – although it’s possible on a really windy and wintry day I won’t be as keen.”

Debbie Rushworth enjoys a bitter blizzard swim

The mum-of-two told how since she started the frosty feat others had started similar campaigns - braving the bitter waters for those who sleep on the streets.

She said: “I choose to get extremely cold every day, knowing that I go back to a warm home and a hot shower.

“For people living on our streets winter is just cold and there’s no choice – this has really made me appreciate how hard it must for them on cold and wet mornings.”

“But my swim buddies are so supportive and I couldn’t do this without them.”

You can make a donation to her Debbie’s Dipcember fundraising campaign at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/debbie-rushworth.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.