Nurse Val taking the plunge for Cleft Palate Charity 

Image of Val Bedwell

Corby nurse Val Bedwell is hoping to raise £2,000 for a charity that helped her grandson when he was born with an undiagnosed cleft lip and palate.

CLAPA (The Cleft Lip and Palate Association) provided much-needed feeding equipment and advice when little Henry was born. 


Val was so grateful for the charity’s support at a difficult time, that she has set herself the aim of raising funds by swimming in open water over the cold winter months. She will take the plunge in swimming spots, including Pitsford Reservoir, Castle Ashby and Wadenhoe with just a normal swimming costume and hat to protect her from the elements.   

She has pledged to do two swims of 250m each month in open water from November to March and is already halfway to raising her target of £2,000, which will provide 50 welcome packs.  

She said: ‘My grandson Henry was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, which was missed on the 20-week scan, so it was a surprise when he arrived. Not only did his parents have to deal with his cleft lip and palate, but feeding was incredibly difficult. He had to be spoon fed until his bottles arrived as the NHS did not provide specialist bottles. CLAPA came to the rescue with a free welcome pack including feeding equipment, medical advice and leaflets.  

'My lovely friend made the Polar Bear Challenge sign to encourage donations and I have already had lots of support from friends and colleagues. So far most of the swims have been fine but the water is getting colder and I'm swimming harder to keep warm and the winter months are going to be a bit more challenging. Thanks to everyone who has donated, every penny will help CLAPA continue to provide specialist, targeted services.’  

Image of the Polar Challenge Event


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Published: Nov 23, 2023

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