Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The 'King of The English Channel' Kevin Murphy visits Body and Mind Studio to collect "The Butlin Challenge Trophy - International Swim Across The Wash"

Left to Right: Beccy Hopfensperger, Paul Hopfensperger, Kevin Murphy, Kathy Batts.
On Thursday 20/02/2020, Beccy and I were delighted to welcome Kevin Murphy, the 'King of The English Channel' to Body and Mind Studio to collect the "The Butlin Challenge Trophy - International Swim Across The Wash" which has been in our possession as former Chairman and Honorary Secretary of the International Open Water Swimming Association (IOWSA) since 2009.

The Butlin Challenge Trophy - International Swim Across The Wash
Kevin was the first man, and second person ever to swim across The Wash on 26/05/1973 (full list of successful swims here) and following telephone discussions with him over the past few weeks, this is what we have decided.

Kevin is going to hand the trophy over to the British Long Distance Swimming Association (BLDSA) who  he informed me, originally ratified all open water swims in the 1970's, and any swims which may have happened in recent years and in the years to come, will have to be ratified by the BLDSA to have the swimmers name engraved on the trophy.

Successful Relay Swims - Further Information Here
For the historical record, it was a very interesting project using my own time, effort and resources to track this trophy down in 2009, and to read up about The Wash and ratify all known successful swims on behalf of IOWSA. I hope this historical trophy has many more names engraved on it in the future.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Update on The Butlins Trophy for swimming The Wash

Above: Jacqueline Thomas of East Lindsey District Council hands over the trophy to Paul Hopfensperger, the then Chairman of the International Open Water Swimming Association (IOWSA) in Manby, Licolnshire on Wednesday December 16, 2009.

Over the past couple of years, I have been receiving e-mails, texts, phone calls and Facebook messages from various people who are saying they have "Swum The Wash" and can I "Hand over the trophy" to them. Firstly, so that people understand how I came to locate this trophy after being lost for so many years, please see the story here. Due to losing my mother, then my father then having an extremely painful Frozen Shoulder for the past 3 years, I have not now been involved in swimming for 9 years, so I'm sorry, but swimming is just not part of my life at the moment so I just do not have the capacity to deal with all this at the moment.

Secondly, so that everyone understands what is happening, two years ago I asked the then Mayor of Skegness, Cllr. Sid Dennis, if I could hand the trophy over to Skegness Town Council for safe keeping, as I believe that this should be the natural home for this historic trophy. It's where Billy Butlins opened his first Holiday Camp in 1936, and it was him who originally presented this historic trophy to swimmers of The Wash. I left it with Cllr. Dennis, and we provisionally arranged that we would have a "hand over" ceremony in October 2017, and that Skegness Town Council could then keep possession of this trophy for me, and keep track of persons entitled to have their name engraved on the trophy (in line with the IOWSA rules below). For reasons I am unaware of, this didn't happen.

I have this week, contacted Skegness Town Council again, and they are now looking into it again for me.  Cllr. Dennis has contacted me again, and he is the councillor who is looking into it. Knowing how Town Councils work, I would imagine this could be a 1-2 month process at the very least. 

While writing, I would like to say that ALL swimmers names who appear on the trophy, have swum The Wash under normal 'Channel Swimming' rules, i.e. in particular, no wetsuits. I have this morning spoken to the CS&PF Honorary Secretary, Kevin Murphy who has swum The Wash, who has confirmed this, as he did in 2009 when we set IOWSA up. The swimming rules to be eligible to receive the trophy are similar to item 10 of the IOWSA Rules and Regulations document below.

Once I have confirmation of what is happening, I will post back here. In the meantime, please be patient and you have my assurances that I am trying to get this trophy back to Skegness where it belongs, but I can't just hand it over to anyone who asks me for it. That would be totally irresponsible.

Useful Information for People Interested in Swimming The Wash

Paul Hopfensperger
Tuesday July 30, 2019


Update - Wednesday July 31, 2019

I have received an e-mail from Skegness Town Council stating that the first time that this could be discussed by them would be at their meeting on 04/09/2019.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

A new direction in life as a Motivational Speaker

On March 8th, 2013 my dear mum Vera passed away following a massive stroke a year earlier. She was the reason for me starting swimming at a very early age and I will always be eternally grateful to her for giving me a lifelong interest which has given me so much enjoyment, enabled me to meet so many wonderful people, travel to so many places and now, to allow me to tell people about my journey as part of a new direction in my life. 

Due to work, family and political commitments over the past few years, I haven't been able to commit any decent time to swimming, so I thought I would concentrate on helping inspire others to start on their journey to successful accomplishment of their goals. I have therefore launched a new website as a joint venture for my work as an Independent local councillor, and as a motivational speaker. It is in the early stages of development, so please check on it regularly for updates.

If you are starting out on your journey to swim The English Channel, or starting out on the journey to achieving any other goal, this ancient Korean quote helped me succeed. I hope it does the same for you:-

"No matter how high the mountain is, it can be compared to a small tomb under the heaven. So if a man attempted to climb it, there would be no reason why he can't succeed. But very often one claims the mountain is too high without even attempting to climb it."




Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Hoffy's Chilly Dip 2014 - Getting closer...

Well, preparations for the 2014 Chilly Dip are well under way, but I have hit a slight snag. I am on a course in London on the day off the actual swim, so I will be doing it on my own on the previous Friday, February 21st, 2014. Just gives me two less days to prepare!

I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored me so far, having already reached £190 of my £250 target! Thank you again, and if you would like to sponsor me, please do so by clicking on the link below:-

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Hoffy's Chilly Dip 2014!

 Hoffy's JustGiving Page
Well, it's been a long time since my last cold water swim, but when the lovely Lucy Alfred, Design and Events Officer at St. Nicholas Hospice Care (SNHC) in Bury St Edmunds, e-mailed me and asked if I would be interested in a 10 length swim at 6 degrees Centigrade, how could I possibly refuse? So, here we are, with just over a month until the big day, on a positively beautiful sunny but cold January day, launching the event.

This morning at 11:00am 5 barmy people, myself included, wearing nothing but speedos, bikinis, swimming costumes, snorkles, goggles, ear muffs, hats and scarves, assembled in an inflatable paddling pool at St Nicholas Hospice before the town's media, well a photographer from the Bury Free Press at least, to encourage people to raise money for this fantastic charity - my favourite!

Left to right: Simon Bridle & Lucy Alfred (SNHC), Yours Truly, Camille Ives and Aaron Bridgeforth (SNHC) dipping our toes into the pool earlier today to launch the swim.

St Nicholas Hospice Care in my hometown of Bury St Edmunds, works compassionately in the fields of life-threatening illness, death and bereavement and needs to raise a staggering £11,000 per day to cover their costs. The hospice provides practical, medical and spiritual support to local people and their families living with an illness that is life threatening; such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, heart or lung disease. I am hoping to raise a minimum of £250 toward this cost, and would appreciate your help with sponsorship.

It really is not a challenge for the faint hearted, as the water will be very cold, but it will certainly be invigorating and satisfying one we have completed the challenge.  Please feel free to sponsor me on my just giving website which can be found here:-

If you would like to join in this swim, then you can do so by filling in the application form online here:-

Event Details:-

Sunday 23rd February at Moreton Hall Health Club, Mount Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP32 7BL at 11:00am.

I would like to thank Culford School Sports and Tennis Centre for the use of their fantastic swimming facilities to train for this event.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A huge congratulations to Louise Stratford, 2013 English Channel Swimmer, from all at Body and Mind Studio!

Above: 2013 English Channel Swimmer, Louise Stratford with Body and Mind Studio's Sports and Advanced Clinical Massage Therapist, Paul Hopfensperger, less than 36 hours after her epic 17 Hour 9 minute swim across The English Channel on September 03, 2013.

I first met Louise when she telephoned to book a massage with us on February 20, 2012. We had been recommended to her by multiple channel swimmer and Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation President Nick Adams. Louise told me that she had been training for about 1.5 years and had completed many open water events. Over the past 1.75 years, I have had the pleasure and the honour of treating Louise with both Advanced Clinical Massage and Sports Massage as well as giving her tips, motivation and some advice from my own personal experiences as an open water swimmer.

At 06: 41 Hrs on the morning of September 03, 2013, Louise set off from Shakespeare Beach in Dover (pictured above) on her epic journey to France. During our last pre-swim Swedish Massage treatment I had given her one of my most important pieces of mental advice for any Channel Swimmer to succeed. Advice which had been give to me in 2007 and most certainly got me across both of my two English Channel solo swims (want to know what it was - then come and see me!). I followed her all day via the Internet and it was a very emotional and exciting experience to watch her progress throughout the day!

12 hours and 26 minutes into the swim and with night starting to fall, having been across this stretch of water quite a few times now as both a swimmer and crew member, I could see exactly what was happening. I could see that the swim was going to go on for a few hours yet! This is where the advice I gave her would possibly help her.

Above: Louise Stratford swimming strongly in the dark of night just off the coast of France near Cap-Gris-Nez.
Eventually, at just before midnight, a comment on her Facebook page read "Has landed! and running up the beach!". I was totally ecstatic for her! An awesome swim by an awesome swimmer in 17 hours and 9 minutes to become a member of The English Channel Swimming Club!

If you would like to sponsor her, please do so on her JustGiving webpage:-

I was delighted to receive a "Thank You" card from Louise. No thanks needed Louise, you are an amazingly strong person both mentally and physically, and I am proud to have been able to help you in a small way. The hard part you did all by yourself. Well done and welcome to the club!

If I can help anyone else who is thinking of swimming The English Channel, please do not hesitate to contact me. Contact details can be found by clicking here.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Great week's swimming in Lindos, Rhodes, Greece, June 13-23, 2012

Above: Just completing my 'two-way crossing' of the stunningly beautiful St Paul's Bay, Lindos Rhodes, June 2012.
Not wanting to harp on too much about things, but you will note that I haven't posted since February 6th. There are numerous reasons, but from a pure swimming perspective there was one big reason. As stated in my previous post, it was my intention to compete in the 2012 BLDSA Grand Prix. To do this, I had a set plan and goal in mind and was very excited about it. It is what I tell my clients on a daily basis, have a plan and stick to it. Jim Rohn says, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". With that in mind, my plan was simple. Book and pay for the events I wanted to compete in, book and pay for the necessary accommodation around the country, put it all in my diary and train for the events. Big problem. The BLDSA website wouldn't allow me to do that, and despite contacting senior members of the BLDSA by e-mail and Facebook, no response! In the end, out of pure frustration I said, "So be it!" (or something similar) and booked a family holiday to Lindos, Rhodes, somewhere Beccy and I went on our first holiday together back in 1996.
It was a much needed holiday, in fact, due to starting the new business in Novemer 2008, it was the first time we had been away anywhere since the FINA World Cup race in Mexico in October 2008. Apart from our first full family holiday, I had the intention of completing a couple of open water swims - a 'Two-way St Paul's Bay' and a 'Two-way Lindos Bay'. Nothing major in terms of distance at all, but something I wanted to do to add to my mileage for 2012.
Above: St Paul's Bay, taken from The Acropolis. Seeing this from such a height, was simply amazing and I couldn't wait to swim it.

Above: Completing my 'two-way' crossing of the stunningly beautiful St. Paul's Bay, Lindos, Rhodes, June 2012. The world famous Acropolis on the mountain in the background.
Above:  'Blast from the past" shot. This was taken by Beccy when I finished my first 'two-way crossing of St Paul's Bay between July 15 and 30, 1996. I can't believe it was 16 years ago!
Above: Lindos Bay taken from the other side of The Acropolis. I completed this two way crossing for the first time on the last day of our holiday, June 23, 2012.
Above: Swimming and completing my swim across Lindos Bay and back (wearing my Culford swimming hat of course).
As well as my sea swims I spent every day in the pool and clocked up about 5,000 Metres total during the week. Still a fair way to go to reach my goal, but it all adds up.

My mum is still hanging in there, but has been confined to bed since her debilitating stroke in January. She is in a fantastic home, looked after by some fantastic nursing staff. She will however, never get out of bed again, never walk, never eat or drink, just lay in bed, fed by a peg and tube in the stomach. A terrible way to end a life so full of love, happiness, laughter and enjoyment.
If you would like to sponsor me for my swimming this year, just please click on the link below and donate. Thank you in advance.

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Challenging Morning in Arctic Conditions!

On Saturday I renewed my British Long Distance Swimming Association membership with the intention of competing in the 2012 Grand Prix as part of my efforts to complete 212 miles to raise £2,012 for The Stroke Association. The final events for 2012 haven't yet been finalised, but Vince Classen, the BLDSA membership secretary e-mailed me last year's championship races which were as follows:-

Wykeham - 5KM
Champion of Champions (Dover Harbour) - 9 Miles
Torbay - 8 Miles
Llyn Tegid - 6 Miles
Coniston - 5.25 Miles
Ullswater - 7 Miles
Derwentwater - 5 Miles
Lake Winermere - 10.5 Miles
Lynn Regis - 3 Miles

So at present, that is my preliminary plan. To complete all of these races in the championship. I will post when I know the 2012 final plan.

So today I had planned to get back in the pool at Culford Sports and Tennis Centre at 7am. It didn't go exactly to plan, but I managed to get 70 lengths (1,750 Metres) in - eventually. Due to the heavy snow yesterday, I hadn't been out in the car, so I hadn't allowed enough time to dig it out of the snow! Having eventually completed the dig, I then had to clear the driveway to get the gate open! I finally arrived at the pool at 7.00am only to find the car slipping backwards down a very snowy slope near the pool. I therefore parked it in front of the main school building and ran up to the pool, finally getting in at just before 7:15am.

Above: The driveway leading up to the Culford Sports and Tennis Centre swimming pool this morning at about 07:10am.

I was focused on building up my training to raise the money for The Stroke Association and of course for my dear mum, who after one week in hospital is not any better at all. Below is a picture of her with her feed which is going through a tube in her nose. To date she has had no food or drink properly due to not being able to swallow. I am doing these swims for her.
Above: My dad caring for my mum in hospital. He is still in shock at the entire experience, especially how sudden and out of the blue it all was.

In the time available I completed my swim, and for the last 15 minutes, I had the entire pool to myself. Just the lifeguard watching from her platform.

Above: My training ground this morning. 8 lanes wide, 25 Metres long and no one in it but me!
I returned to the changing rooms looking forward to a nice warm shower, only it wasn't warm. It was absolutely freezing! I may as well have gone outside and rolled naked in the snow, only I may have been arrested for doing so. So I had a cold shower. Great cold water acclimatisation session.

So I now have a provisional plan, and have completed a total of 10,650 Metres (6.6 Miles). Only 205.4 Miles to go!

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far. Please continue to do so so that I can raise as much money as possible for The Stroke Association:-