Tracey and Simon West (pasted onto a picture of Lake Windermere above) are passionate environmentalists and over the years, alongside an amazing team at Word Forest, they’ve worked tirelessly to mitigate extreme weather events, global warming, hunger and poverty by reforesting Kenya.
To generate a bit of a buzz and to chart their training journey over the last 2 months, they’ve been recording a few minutes of convivial conversation for their podcast channel. They aptly named this short series The SwimCast.
In the SwimCast they’ve gone all out to create inspirational shorts that raise awareness of the fact that trees are the key to so much more than alleviating the symptoms of climate change. They’ve also tackled many other eco-topics head on and captured snippets of pre and post training banter, as they’ve ramped up their physical efforts in the local LED community gym and pool.
Simon, Chair of Trustees and IT Guru explains: “The SwimCast was as much a prompt for us to keep going, as it was to entertain others. Like many people, during lockdown, we just stayed home and worked. We spent far too long sitting down in the office and this mile swim has been just the prompt I needed to get back out and to exercise more.”
Tracey, Word Forest’s CEO adds: “I’ve been wanting to do another Great Swim for a long time. I did a mile across Windermere in 2009 and then the Thames in 2010. It’s an incredible experience and I’m unbelievably excited about swimming alongside Simon – this is his first open water event. We are 100% ready for the challenge.”
Word Forest Patron, Clare Nasir meteorologist and television weather presenter, has been giving Tracey and Simon weather updates as the date has been drawing closer. A few days back she reported that Saturday may well be a difficult day for the swim.
Organisers of the Great Swim issued the following announcement on Friday afternoon:
Important Weather Announcement: The weather forecast for this weekend shows some challenging conditions, with strong winds across Windermere that could result in some choppy water. As always, your safety and wellbeing is our number one priority, and if the conditions and / or forecasts significantly worsen, we may need to make changes to the timetable. We will communicate any changes via text, email and social media if we need to, so please stay connected ahead of your swim.
The Word Forest Two are currently travelling north to the Lakes and their mood hasn’t been darkened, they refuse to be disheartened. Their plan is to swim side by side, whatever the weather has to throw at them.
Tracey adds: “It’s almost an ironic poetic injustice that a sponsored swim to plant urgently needed trees be disrupted by bad weather. I’m certain this won’t turn into an extreme weather event but you’ve only got to spend a few minutes flicking around the world’s news to see they’re happening with greater frequency and their claiming countless innocent lives. Crops are failing, drought is holding humans and wildlife in a deathly grip.“
Tracey continues:“Our Special Scientific Advisor, Professor Bill McGuire (and thousands of other eminent climate scientists) are exhausted from stating over and over again that planet Earth is in dire straits. It needs radical, swift behaviour change from governments and Big Corp, the world over, today, not tomorrow, not next year, right now. That will undoubtedly encourage greater positive change amongst individuals.”
Simon concludes: “The human migration we’ve seen as a result of the war in Ukraine will be far surpassed by what could come from global warming, sea level rise, glacier melt, floods and temperatures where food just can’t grow. The planting of trees combined with a raft of humanitarian and educational initiatives that ensure the tree planters are well supported, is a no brainer to drawing down and locking in CO2 from the atmosphere. I hope Tracey and I manage to get a few more people to up their green game and to sponsor us too.”
Every £2.50 raised from their swim will plant a tree in Kenya and also go towards the creation of a 1 acre of permaculture food forest which will be located at one of the schools we’ve helped build. We’ll initiate an education programme so the students and the teachers can learn how to use permaculture to grow organic fruit and vegetables which will help reduce the numbers of starving and malnourished children in Kenya.
Earlier this week UNICEF stated an ‘Explosion of child deaths’ was imminent in Horn of Africa if the world does not act immediately.
“The number of children facing this most deadly form of malnutrition has increased by more than 15% in the space of five months. Across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, more than 1.7 million children are in urgent need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Four rainy seasons have failed in the space of two years – killing crops and livestock and drying up water sources. Forecasts suggest the next October to December rains are likely to fail too.”
Please visit WordForest.org/swim22 to donate.
With thanks as ever from,
The (proud) Team