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Bare it for the Bard to raise money for Stratford's Shakespeare Hospice

FRIENDS and loved ones of an Alcester mum who died two years ago are preparing to ‘Bare it for the Bard’ once again in a fundraising open water swim.

Richard and Sharne Phipps. (57510631)
Richard and Sharne Phipps. (57510631)

The event was created in memory of Sharne Phipps who, after a short illness, died of cancer in August 2020 aged 38, leaving behind husband Richard and young children Grace, now 13, and Finn, five.

After the success of last year’s inaugural Bare it for the Bard, which raised more than £8,500, 60 swimmers will be braving the waters at Spot-On Wake in Wootton Wawen once again on Sunday 7th August to raise vital funds for The Shakespeare Hospice, who looked after Sharne before her death.

And this year’s event promises to be bigger and better. There will be activities on the day to keep the family entertained, including the one-of-a-kind Aqua Jungle (for those aged eight and above) and demonstrations from some of Spot-On Wake’s seasoned wakeboarders.

Reflecting on the success of last year’s inaugural event, Richard said: “Looking back I cannot believe just how incredible the event was. Raising awareness of the hospice and the incredible work it does and being able to raise over £8,500 surpassed all expectations, to the point where saying “thank-you” doesn’t seem to do it justice.

“It also gave people the chance to remember and celebrate the life of Sharne, something which friends hadn’t been able to do due to the pandemic.

“After the event life didn’t really slow down but did throw up a lot of new situations. I don’t think until Finn started school and the event was officially over did I ultimately realise I was a single parent.”

Richard said this realisation “overwhelmed” him, so he decided to go back to the hospice to get some further counselling to “make sense of what life was throwing at me”.

He added: “Being a parent to a five-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, life is nothing short of eventful.

Swimmers take to the water at Spot-On Wake in Wootton Wawen. (57510629)
Swimmers take to the water at Spot-On Wake in Wootton Wawen. (57510629)

“I was worried about Finn starting school and played so many scenarios in my head about not being there to help him in difficult situations. The reality is that I really did not need to be worried because he loves school – which makes my life so much easier.

“Gracie is my inspiration. She was very apprehensive about the swim last year, because it meant facing a lot of love from people who were there to show us what Sharne meant to them.

“She faced it with all the courage and love that her mum would have been proud of.

“This also opened a lot of feelings that she had suppressed over the years and again the hospice were there to catch and support her.

“Without the hospice, life would be a lot tougher. With friends, family and 60 swimmers, last year helped other families who have to walk the same journey as us. You cannot ever put a value on that.”

For more information and to enter, visit TheShakespeareHospice.org.uk or email fundraising@theshakespearehospice.org.uk.

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