Wynn (centre) on her 96th birthday
Wynn’s life was organized around her daily swims (3 a day in winter, 5 in summer). The routine was relentless, but it didn’t stop her bringing up 4 children, caring for her dear husband Vic, and being a beloved friend to like-minded pond addicts. I first met her 20 years ago in the sunbathing area of the changing room where she would sit and relax for a while after swim number 3. It was my first summer at the pond and she didn’t talk to me immediately. After a few weeks, however, she finally came over, asking whether I liked The Stranglers. Yes, I did. They were one of my favourite bands when I was growing up. She then told me that the lead singer – Hugh Cornwell – was her son, and there began our friendship.
Wynn had no time for airs and graces, and said exactly what she thought, particularly when faced with the familiar ‘Is the water cold?’ question. She loved riding her bike across the heath, had an endearing indifference to the concept of a cycle route, and would pack her basket with costumes, raincoat, and pasty. The pasty was for me, for I was a starving student at the time, and Wynn took it upon herself to give me my daily bread. Her daily bread was the pond, and nothing – not even a kitchen flood – would get in the way. Ill health and relocation got in the way in more recent years, but Wynn’s daughter would bring her up for New Year and birthday celebrations where she would take to the water in characteristic matter of fact fashion. The attached photo was taken on her 96th birthday. Wynn was rather cold after her dip – hence the blanket – and she was about to ask me whether I’d been to the end. It was her favourite question, it expressed her fiercely competitive nature, and on this occasion – as on many others – she came out top. Of course I hadn’t been to the end, I hadn’t even done a ‘step to step’. The water was too cold for me, and no, it wouldn’t make things easier if she were to go in again herself. Wynn would always go in again herself, and she had the costumes to prove it. Her presence at the pond will be greatly misse