A group of sea swimmers from Brixham has produced a naked calendar in support of the Shoalstone Sea Water Pool.

“We swim every week of the year and the benefits of our cold water dips, both physical and mental, are enormous.”  says Jane Rudge, January Mermaid, “It all started as an informal group who met on Breakwater beach and has now grown into a really close group of friends who support each other. Yes, it’s cold in the winter but it’s also great fun and the benefits are substantial.”

Mermaid Stella takes a break by the beach huts
Mermaid Stella takes a break by the beach huts (Trevor Taylor)

Jenny Harriman, August Mermaid,  said “We went to see Calendar Girls at the Brixham Theatre and afterwards someone said ‘We could do that’ and so the idea was born. We wanted to raise money for a worthy cause and the Shoalstone Sea Water Pool was an obvious choice. The pool is a great asset to Brixham and is in desperate need of money for repairs and maintenance.”

There are 12 mermaids whose ages range from 40 to 73. They come from a variety of backgrounds including education, nursing, the care sector, broadcasting, event management and writing.  “Sea swimming has proven benefits for physical and mental health.” says Jo Taylor, November Mermaid.  “We can arrived at the beach stressed but within ten minutes we are relaxed, chilled and laughing. It’s a great tonic and it’s free.” 

Mermaids Vikki and Jo at Shoalstone rocks
Mermaids Vikki and Jo at Shoalstone rocks (Trevor Taylor)

Today many people are stressed whether it’s because of the economic pressures, social pressures or simply the demands of a family or job. A short dip in the sea with friends can really help. Torbay Council recognises the huge benefits such groups offer and has generously supported the charity project with a grant from the Community Fund. The council hopes the Brixham Mermaids’ Calendar will inspire others to establish similar groups to boost well-being, health and fitness in Torbay.

Mermaids in a Christmas hot tub overlooking Torbay.
Mermaids in a Christmas hot tub overlooking Torbay. (Trevor Taylor)

The calendar was photographed in and around Brixham by Trevor Taylor. “The Mermaids were wonderful to work with and entered into the spirit of the whole project. I was glad to be asked to shoot the calendar and all credit to the ladies who bared-all tastefully in support of the Shoalstone Pool. Many of the shots were taken very early in the morning when no one was around. It was very cold but they didn’t grumble. All credit to the Brixham Mermaids.”

The 2024 Brixham Mermaids’ Calendar is available from the Breakwater Bistro in Brixham and costs £7.95. Proceeds go to Brixham’s Shoalstone Sea Water Pool.