The Conclusion of My Great North Swim

Tracey Smith, author of The Book of Rubbish Ideas in The British Gas Great North Swim at Lake Windermere
A bit of a clingy number, I grant you

Not the most fetching of outfits I know, but here’s me in my neoprene wetsuit, getting ready to depart for Lake Windermere to take part in the second Great North Swim.

It was the inaugural GNS at Windermere that took place last September that first hooked me in.

In 2008, around 2,000 competitors swam a mile around the edge of the stunning lake, many raising money for charity and others simply doing it for personal achievement.

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Comic Relief Plunges Children of Alcoholics into a Welcome Spotlight

bw11Friday the 13th March will certainly be lucky for some, especially a tiny Bristol based charity called Nacoa.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics have been around for 19 years and calls to their helpline have grown steadily over the years; in 2007 18k, in 2008 36k.

Comic Relief are about to give them a welcome boost of publicity when they air the short film shot in their volunteer helpline room this coming Friday night.

Viewers will hear from Emma Spiegler, a Nacoa Trustee, founder of COAP and once the child of an alcoholic mother (now thankfully now in recovery and doing well). But Emma’s story wasn’t always so happy. She faced many of the typical problems experienced by thousands of children of alcohol dependent parents and often felt very isolated, at times shrouded with guilt that she had somehow been responsible for her mothers drinking, until she found Nacoa.

Hilary Henriques, the charity co-founder is also featured in the film and interviewed in this weeks Radio Times on page 22. She talks reveals the shocking truth about many of the callers to Nacoa, some as young as 7 years old.

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