Chasing away the winter blues!

Sthiranaga braves the cold to swim for WinterFest

A Brightlingsea man is braving freezing temperatures in a bid to swim 3,000m a month over the winter for the Brightlingsea WinterFest Wellbeing Fund.

Darren Barrenger – now known as Sthiranaga after converting to Buddhism – started his sea swimming Polar Bear Challenge in November and will continue to take the plunge until March.

“I’ll be wearing just my usual trunks, pink hat, googles, noseclip and earplugs. Nothing to protect my hands and feet and absolutely no neoprene in sight,” said Sthiranaga.

Sthiranaga has completed two similar challenges before, raising nearly £5,000 for the Samaritans, St Helena Hospice and the Colchester Buddhist Centre.

This time the beneficiary is the Brightlingsea WinterFest Wellbeing Fund, which provides grants for local people and organisations to purchase such things as music lessons, family days out or play equipment.

Each swim starts from Sthiranaga’s beach hut near Splash Point on Brightlingsea Prom. In November he managed 7,100m and, at the time of writing, his total for December is 3,000m.You can follow his progress at and donate here.

© Brightlingsea WinterFest
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