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£2,303 pledged of $22,729 goal
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£2,303 pledged of $22,729 goal
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About

The Film

A woman recovering from 30 years of overwhelming anxiety and fear must beat her lifetime aquaphobia to become the first person ever to swim the full 1800 miles of open water around the coast of mainland Britain.

The Big, Mad Swim Movie will tell this incredible story and take you on the journey around Britain by her terrified side.

Paula 'Must Try Harder' McGuire is the recluse turned adventurer, who used adventure and risk to overcome debilitating social anxiety and depression, and become the woman who gives fear nightmares. Trying everything from wrestling with Olympians to life modelling for artists – and all the wingwalking in between – Paula now spends all that nervous energy helping others to find their barriers and clamber on over them. 

Barely five years on, this anxious adventurer has written for newspapers, presented radio programmes, and given a TEDx talk, proving that you can either live with anxiety or make anxiety live with you. Now Paula is ready to tackle her biggest challenge yet: open-water swimming around mainland Britain… without a float. The Big, Mad Swim Movie will follow Paula on this exciting new adventure, and document the ups and downs of preparing, planning, and ultimately swimming around mainland Britain. 

The Swim 

Welcome to the Kickstarter for the filming of Big, Mad Swim Around Britain: The Movie! 

From April 2018, I'll be swimming in 5-6 hour shifts, day and night, for roughly 6 months, as I aim to be the first person ever to swim around mainland Britain.

I am taking on this crazy challenge to raise awareness of mental health issues, and raise funds for The Mental Health Foundation, as someone who spent 30 years suffering debilitating social anxiety and depression. 

After trying out every other able route to recovery, only to end up virtually unable to leave my own home, I finally realised that the only road left was to find a way out of my comfort zone, and back into the world. And so began a new life of physical and emotional challenges that have seen me standing atop planes, wrestling with Olympians and giving a TEDx talk; constantly challenging both the fear and myself to find out which is bigger. (It turns out, I am!). All to reach where I am today - preparing to swim all the way around mainland Britain. 

For this challenge, I am incredibly fortunate to be training with experts, including my Swim Director and coach, Robert Hamilton, and benefiting from the advice and support of Sean Conway: the only person ever to have swam from Land's End to John O'Groats.

I’m building a fantastic team of support crew to make this challenge a real success - and I'd love you to be part of that.

Big, Mad, Swim Around Britain: The Movie will follow me and the crew around Britain, capturing the highs and the lows, the victories and the challenges, and above all the scope of such an incredible journey, as we travel the coastline of this island, and I do quite a lot of open water swimming.

With your support, this film will not only inspire others to challenge themselves, but will show all those who feel alone and controlled by their anxieties that they are part of something huge and full of adventure, and that they too have a place in that world.

- Paula.

How the money will be used

The project is currently in the early phases of fundraising and production. The money raised from this Kickstarter campaign will go towards the six month shoot around Britain.

We are also applying to various grants and programmes for additional funding to make the movie as good as it possibly can be for all our backers.

The money raised here will be part of the overall budget, but a successful campaign will help:

  • Enable Paula to be supported full-time by a safety boat and crew.
  • The team to secure necessary equipment for both the swim and the production.
  • Demonstrate in funding applications that an entire community of people want the Big Mad Swim Movie to be made!

How you can help

Every week, 1 in 6 adults experiences a mental health issue. Maybe you know that one. Maybe you are that one. Either way, it's not hard to see why mental health awareness is a cause worth swimming for. The Big, Mad Swim Around Britain isn't only one woman's attempt to sink her own fears. It's a chance to start a conversation about mental health - and we'd love you to be part of it.

If you would like to help support Paula’s world-first swim, please back the project here on Kickstarter.

You can also share this page to let your friends and co-workers know about The Big, Mad Swim Around Britain and how they too can support Paula.

Follow Paula and the team’s progress on Facebook, Twitter, or the website.

Please like, subscribe and share with your friends - and let's talk about mental health to the world.

Who we are (the team)  

  • Writers: Paula McGuire / Gerry McGuire
  • Swimmer: Paula McGuire  
  • Swim Director: Robert Hamilton
  • Videography: Gerry McGuire
  • Producer / PR: Halina Rifai
  • Graphic Designer: Gavin Spence 

Paula McGuire: Paula is an adventurer, published writer, motivational speaker and broadcaster. She has presented BBC, national and local radio programmes, and can regularly be heard speaking at conferences and events. Paula has overcome lifelong aquaphobia and will be taking on the 1800 mile swim while eating 8,000 calories a day (and you can guess which she will be enjoying most). 

Robert Hamilton: Robert has over 25 years’ experience in the swimming industry and is Owner/Director at Vigour Events, Scotland’s premier provider of open water swimming sessions. Robert has trained elite level swimmers, reaching the highest level of coaching, with swimmers at Olympic trials and representing Great Britain. And he’s just a bloody nice guy.

Gerry McGuire: Gerry is an experienced Videographer and Project Manager, having worked in both the public and private sector creating written and video content, and managing the creation of video and web projects. He’ll be filming the movie across the six month journey, and trying not to eat 8000 calories a day.

Halina Rifai: Halina is Scottish Regional PR & Social Media Manager for A Badge Of Friendship, she also is co-founder of The Respite Room, a new online and future offline space to discuss mental health and to also aid those predominantly with anxiety and depression.

Gavin Spence: Gavin is a professional illustrator and Graphic Designer from Glasgow, Scotland. He'll happily draw you a robot or anything else grudgingly. 

Coverage of Paula in the media

Enjoy a video BBC News made about The Big, Mad Swim.

Hear Paula chat to BBC World Service about her swim.

Read about Paula’s adventures in The National, and her latest challenge in i Magazine.

Watch Paula’s TEDx Talk.

Risks and challenges

With any ground-breaking challenge there is, of course, an element of risk - and The Big, Mad Swim Around Britain is no different. Risk that the swimmer won't complete the entire course, risk that the British weather makes for a very bleak visual, risk of illness or injury.

For all the challenges that can be predicted, however, measures are being taken to mitigate and minimise the risk, including:
• An experienced and qualified safety team and land crew in place for the entire project.
• Expert advisors in nutrition and logistics planning on hand.
• Regular off-site back-ups of film footage.
• Flexible timescales to accommodate for recovery and bad weather days.

All aspects of the swim and film are being checked and controlled by professional Aquatic Event Specialists and Project Managers. In the event of the swim being halted at any point, however, the film will still go ahead, since the journey is always of greater value than the destination alone.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Limited edition postcard

    Receive a limited edition, beautifully designed Big, Mad Swim Movie commemorative postcard, signed by Paula.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $26

    Video Message from Paula on the swim

    Receive a personalized video message from Paula while she is travelling around Britain

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    Pledge £30 or more About $39

    Stream the movie!

    Own a digital stream of the movie (message us if you would like the British Sign Language version).

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    Pledge £60 or more About $77

    Digital, DVD, and a Thank You Credit!

    DVD of the movie, signed, a digital copy, and a Thank You Credit in the film. (message us if you would like the British Sign Language version).

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    Pledge £120 or more About $154

    Paula's goggles, and digital stream

    We will send you a genuine, used pair of goggles that Paula has worn while swimming around the coast of Britain, and a digital download of the movie (message us if you would like the British Sign Language version).

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £300 or more About $386

    Pair of tickets to the Glasgow Premiere

    A pair of tickets to the premiere of the movie in Glasgow, and a digital download of the movie (message us if you would like the British Sign Language version).

    Please note that travel to Glasgow and accommodation is not included.

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    Pledge £400 or more About $515

    Postcard every fortnight from the swim

    Paula will, with her freezing hands, personally write and send you a postcard every fortnight from the swim around Britain. Also includes a digital download of the movie (message us if you would like the British Sign Language version).

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £900 or more About $1,159

    Talk, screening and Q&A with Paula

    Paula will travel to your (mainland) UK venue and deliver a 20 minute talk, screen the movie at your venue and give a 30 minute Q&A.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,287

    Be an Executive Producer on the movie!

    You can become an executive producer of a documentary! This reward will see you given the credit "Executive Producer" in the making of the movie. Also includes a digital download of the movie (message us if you would like the British Sign Language version).

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    Pledge £3,000 or more About $3,862

    Business Backers

    Have your business’s logo featured in promotional materials, trailers and advertisements for the Big, Mad Swim Movie as a corporate sponsor.

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Funding period

- (43 days)