• Our 2011 swimmers before going on stage...
  • One of the swimmers gliding through the sea...
  • Debut swimmer Doddy before the big jump off!
  • Another happy swimmer...
  • Limbering up!

Aaron Matthews

Since achieving my 25 meter and pool frog 2 awards in 1996, I have continued to achieve great things. Although still happy to don the Speedos and get the grannies out the fast lane, my club days are well and truly over. What better a reward at the end of a long swim than some great music and a warm festival beer? I’m training up at Parliament Hill Lido and down in Brighton to make sure I’m up for the challenge on behalf of LivLife in Tanzania and IYWAC.



Rupert Miles

It’s perhaps one of the most awe inspiring events of the natural world that’s making me swim to Bestival this year!

Every year thousands of tiny birds that are on their migratory route from Vladivostok in eastern Russia to the Ascension Islands in the Atlantic swoop down and feed on the plankton rich tranquil waters of the Solent. But here’s the thing......no one has ever seen this event, not even the BBC Natural History Unit!!!

The Shna-t-de Warbler, or to give it its Latin name, Shna-t-de Warbler , has travelled tens of thousands of miles to find its way to the Solent. It’s an ingeniously clever little bird that to conserve energy hitches rides on public transport. Leaving from platform five, just after tea, it travels to Moscow on the Trans Siberian Railway and then picks up a local service to St Petersburg’s before finding its way onto the High Speed rail networks of modern Europe. After two weeks of constant travelling the now weary and desperately hungry warbler reaches the coast of Britain via a Sealink ferry. Many haven’t made it..........(cue sad music)

There’s no stopping the plucky survivors as they quickly seek out a National Express Bus travelling to Southampton. If you’re lucky you might see a group of these tiny birds huddled together on the roof but it’s unlikely. Perhaps unique in the natural world, the Shna-t-de Warbler has the ability to ‘cloak’ itself, disappearing from view like a Klingon battle cruiser. But to the trained eye like mine, you can spot them and I’m convinced on the 6th September 2012 I shall enter the blue waters of the Solent in the knowledge that if my predictions are right, and I have been consulting the stars, Nick Clegg and my underwear, that given the right climactic conditions these tiny birds, attracted by the frantic thrashing of those hardy souls that make up the Swim2Bestival 2012 team will fool the birds into thinking they are a huge shoal of plankton and will ‘un-cloak’ allowing them to feed and I’ll be there amongst them to witness this most incredible event.

In witnessing this event I’ll be raising money not only for IYWAC but also a fabulous Bristol based charity; PROPS provide amazing opportunities for young people with physical and learning disabilities . I see the young people down my local gym and I think it’s just brilliant they are being given such opportunities through the work of PROPS.




James Williams

Helllooooo there, my name is James Williams, a born and bred Berkshire boy swimming straight out of Caversham! I graduated from the University of Reading with my masters in Wildlife Conservation in 0ctober 2011 and have a passion for working with animals and the natural word. I love swimming and, naturally, festivals – so Swim2Bestival seemed like a perfect thing to be part of. This will be my first Bestival experience, I’m looking forward to seeing the XX, Friendly Fires and the living legend that is Stevie Wonder and will be seeing in the festivities dressed as a cockroach.

More importantly though we are hopefully going to raise some serious cash for our fantastic charities. I am swimming in aid of Help for Heroes – a charity that helps to rebuild the lives of our wounded service men and women, amazing people that risked their lives and sustained injury fighting on the front line. Since its creation in 2007, Help for Heroes has raised over £140 million in aid of our brave soldiers and I feel honoured to be a small part of that.

That's all from me, Have an amazing festival!!!



Roxane Gergaud

More lilo lounger than deep sea diver the decision to swim to Bestival was perhaps not entirely thought through. But then with my (slightly deranged) brothers in tow, nothing ever is. City slicker but hippy at heart, you'll find me with a face full of glitter, fizz in hand bopping round to Major Lazer with my eyes closed.

Can’t bloody wait...



Mike Prosser

I’m Mike, originally from Hereford, now living on the south coast in Bournemouth. Normally I’m on top of the water kayaking, so being in the water and swimming to the Isle of Wight will be quite the challenge. Please be generous and sponsor me as I’m raising money for the RNLI, who may not only be useful in saving me on the day, but are heroes who voluntarily and selflessly risk their own lives for strangers around the coast of the UK.



Tom Adams

Hoping for calm seas and a pleasant crossing, Wilson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This year’s hot festival essentials:
1. Arm bands 2. Goggles 3. A neoprene onesy.
CHECK Wishing you all an awesome summer festival season, Bring on Bestival.



Ben McGhee

A brief history of Ben McGhee:

Firstly you will not be seeing me in Speedos unless a large charity donation comes my way... this is a separate challenge in itself. I live in the sunny south east Dover Kent. I am a plumber the charity I've chosen has been supported by the company I work for ‘Homeserve’ so I am doing my good deed for Marie Curie.

What a way to start a festival the swim. This is the easy part; 4 days of port a loo’s, getting lost and hangovers will be a challenge. Look forward to meeting the swimmers and that main stage appearance. Cheers, Ben.



Tristan Coldbeck

I’m Tristan, 32 from the Costa Del Dover and I can’t wait to swim over to The Isle of Wight to Bestival 2012. Ever since I took the ferry over two years ago, I always knew there was better/faster/classier way to get across. One thing is for sure; my ‘speed’ boat is not it!

I’m doing it for three charidees – Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK and IYWAC, three very worthwhile causes. I have to confess though it’s not all about them... The glory of stepping on stage in front of the crowd to collect a medal and the Swim2Bestival t-shirt will be the icing on the cake of a perfect weekend.

Oh, and not forgetting doing it with my best mate Ben as well ;) (BTW Ben, I’m doing it sans wetsuit!)

See you there!



Rebecca Howett

I can’t think of any better introduction to the Isle of Wight and to Bestival other than swimming there this September. I am looking forward to wading into the Solent, spending an afternoon conquering it’s currents and raising money for two fantastic charities – the IYWAC and the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative.


Peter Sanders

Last year my little sister lost her fight with an aggressive brain cancer diagnosed in June. She died in September.

I’m swimming to raise money for Cancer research and then drown my sorrows at Bestival.

Please help me raise money for this immensely worthwhile and very personal cause.


Col Staunton

I’m swimming this for a bit of a laugh and for a sense of achievement so that I can justify a weekender at Bestival! I wrote my application on a Friday afternoon after a bit of a boozy lunch session and it seemed a good idea. I offered to wear “speeds and tweeds” for the majority of the festival if I got in, and also talked of how I don’t want to be the fat lad at the back so I’ll try to avoid the pub for the next few weeks and do some training! I used to swim and play polo at uni however that was a few years back now so I’m back with the armbands. It’s also been a while since I last donned the speedos and/or a wetsuit so they probably don’t fit. I’m raising money for marie curie and IYWAC! Wish me luck!


Nick Moores

I’m Nick, 27, I live in Brighton and…I’M SWIMMING TO BESTIVAL!

During the journey to last year’s festival, I was told that a lucky few people each year have the chance to take on the swim2bestival challenge and arrive at the festival in true aquatic style. So whilst waiting in a rain soaked, stationary queue for what felt like a number of hours before boarding our hovercraft, I thought, ‘you know what! Next year, I’m swimming this’.

Almost a year on and my Bestival mission is in full swing. I’m preparing to swim the mighty Solent, raising as much money for charity as possible, and then kick-back & party hard whilst enjoying the BEST festival there is.

See you all on the isle!



Bianca Ohannessian

I’ve wanted to Swim2Bestival ever since I first heard about it ☺ I'm from London but grew up spending summers on a Greek island, where I could always be found at the beach swimming. I've never done a big charity swim before though, so I’ll be doing lots of training for this! I work for a social media agency, as well as design swimwear for my own fashion label BiBi The Wonderfish www.bibithewonderfish.co.uk

I've chosen to support the Fred Hollows Foundation, who help cure avoidable blindness in developing countries, and I first got involved with them a few years ago in Australia.

I'm really looking forward to the swim challenge and it will be my first time at Bestival too, so swimming there will definitely make it an experience to remember!!



Gavroche Gergaud

You have got to put in the hard work before you enjoy the rewards. By doing this swim, I feel like I earn the right to party! As my good friend, Marvin Gaye, once said, ‘ain’t no river wide enough baby!’, the Solent swim will be no problem in the knowledge that it is for charity, and getting closer and closer to where the party at, BESTIVAL! I am the 100% greased up, blonde stallion, Speedo donning guy if anyone wants to know who I am. Twitter: @Gergaud23



Louis Gergaud

Me=Friend First, Boss Second, Probably Entertainer Third
University of Bristol – Quantum Physics
Nickname: Dragon
Sports: Badgery
Relationship Status: Single, brunettes, 5.7inches and 3 A-Levels preferably!! Aim: I hope to make some friends when swimming, I really need them!
Favourite Food: Blueberry Pancakes, Pasta, Noodles and egg fried rice Representing – Alfie Blue
Favourite Singer @ Bestival – Ben Howard
Quotes: ‘Just Keep Swimming!!’ (Finding Nemo) ‘For Gondor! For Frodo!’



Richard Dana

I really can’t think of a better way to cleanse the soul before a weekend of Bestival shaped shenanigans. Add that to another opportunity to raise some funds to support IYWAC and Children with Cancer (a cause particularly close to my heart as my three old nephew is currently being treated for Leukaemia) and it is an absolute no brainer! I can’t wait. Let’s just hope all this rain doesn’t wash the Isle of Wight away in the meantime – swimming to France would be a whole different matter...



Elaine Macey

Hey, nice to meet you! My name is Elaine and I am a lady on a mission!

October 2011 I turned 30! I wanted to make it a year to remember so I pledged to do '30 Things To Do When I'm 30'!

January 2012 my ’30 Things To Do List' started to take shape, and some stuff happened that inspired me to start dreaming up my challenge this year. I am on a mission to raise lots of pounds for two charities close to my heart - Cancer Research and The Brain Research Trust along with the Youth Water Activity Centre, and to do this I am doing a 'One-a-Month' Charity Challenge whereby I complete one event/race for every month in 2012.

It’s been a fun and challenging year so far with lots of aches and pains, bumps and bruises, and heaps of laughter, great memories and friends made. So far I’ve completed a freezing Tough Guy, 12-mile Tough Mudder, two half marathons, 2-mile Great North Swim, climbed Snowdon, and a triathlon. Here is a link to my Justgiving fundraising page that gives you a bit more info about my events and reasons for fundraising -http://www.justgiving.com/Elaine-Macey30.

To swim the Solent has always been a dream of mine, and as a big fan of Bestival (this will be my 4th year) I can't think of a better way to arrive in true crazy festival style! As Mr Walt Disney wisely said "if you can dream it you can do it", so I’m gonna keep on dreaming to raise as many pennies as possible and look forward to joining the Swim2Bestival Team! Never, never, NEVER give up!! Bring it on!!



Lee Jones

Hi my name is lee and I’m an idiot...

Well that is what my mother said when I told her I was swimming 2 Bestival.

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a fish. Last time I took a dip in the Solent I lost my bearings and swam in to my own foot catching my gold tooth with my toe nail, it pinged clean out, I watched it fall.

That peg meant a lot to me, it was a big deal.

I thought I would never see that peg again until swim2Bestival 2012 gave me the opportunity to find that RUDDY peg. So now I would like to ask all swimmers to simply keep an eye out for it, there will be a reward given if found, I thank you.

Whilst looking for one piece of gold I will also be swimming another piece over with me in the form of my late father’s wedding ring (fully taped up of course), he died from lung cancer at home with all our family by his side, this wouldn’t of been possible without the help and guidance of Marie Curie (angels).

So it is with great honour that I am able to raise as much money as possible for Marie Curie and also IYWAC.



Harry Simmonds

As soon as I came across the Swim2Bestival challenge I knew this was something I had to get involved in. The festival is going to be amazing so what better way to get started than by swimming to the island!! Hopefully by the time I get there I can undo all the good exercise I have done by raving for the next 3 days. I’m raising money for a great cause so please get involved and sponsor as much or little as you can. All of us swimmers are on the Virgin money giving page and would appreciate any support. See you all on the other side!!


Millie Diamond

OLYMPOMANIA has taken a hold on me. This year I’m getting active and participating in as many different sporting activities as possible. Swimming to Bestival is definitely going to be the highlight of my challenges, especially when there is such a fun reward waiting for us on the other side…