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Watts Solent Swim

Posted 12th June 2013
Watts Contemporary Gallery


At 8.30am on Saturday 8 June with a breeze and sun, seven intrepid swimmers embarked on the crossing of one of the busiest stretch of waters in the world, the Solent, between Gilkicker Point and the Isle of Wight. G F Watts OM RA (1817-1904) used to have a home on the Isle of Wight in order to live near his dear friend Lord Tennyson. 

The swimmers – Leo Hacking, Ben Rochelle, Richard Dana, Roxane Gergaud, Sarah Giles, Perdita Hunt and Jack Burrows were swimming to raise funds to save the Watts studios, Limnerslease, a building in Compton, Surrey which completes an artists’ village, consisting of Watts Gallery, the Old Pottery, the Watts Chapel and the Watts House and studio. Contributions from the swim were also going to support the RNLI Bembridge.

The swim was supported by Bembridge Powerboat Training Ltd, Marine Kayaks, Takt – Isle Adventures, Project Five and Surrey First Aider, Derek.

The first swimmer completed the crossing in 1.45 hours and the last in just over two hours. It was choppy and there were some big vessels passing by!

A high point for the swimmers was the send off by a Friend of Watts Gallery, Julie Maby, who was dressed in a gorilla suit in a pink swimming costume. The swimmers were thrilled with the support that has been raised which is now nearing the £15,000 mark. 

Donations are still welcome and can be made on the Justgiving website

Thank you to everyone for their support.