Life on the Deben

Back in October 2016 this group of Woodbridge and Felixstowe sea swimmers got together to swim across the notoriously treacherous mouth of the otherwise tranquil and serene River Deben. It was a blast - from Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club to Bawdsey and back in no more than 10 minutes, at slack low water, supervised by the reassuring presence of harbourmaster John White. We'd been asked to make this locally iconic swim by the producers of a film being made called 'Life on the Deben' and, a year on, we gathered last week to watch the film's premiere in Woodbridge. It's a superbly-shot, diverse and educational film of Suffolk life and landscape, from the time of the first king of England, to art, industry, the vital role of Bawdsey in WW2, and of course open water swimming in the 21st century!

We swam where the Deben meets the sea, so appear near the end of the 100-minute film, shot from in and above the water (lots of drone camerawork in the film) on a grey autumn day with the water around 12C, most of us without wetsuits. The current wasn't strong and our track was straight, about 250m each way. We didn't hang about, but still savoured this rare moment - a privilege to swim here and be part of this important and highly impressive local project. See it if you can, now also out on DVD, details at

Seamus Bennett