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.