Fringe Box



Swimming The Solent To Save Watts Gallery

Published on: 26 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 29 Sep, 2014

Perdita Hunt praticising her swim. In the background one of  “Palmerston’s Follies” a number of forts constructed for coastal defence in the 1850s and now a hotel.

By Ruchi Srivastava

The director of Watts Gallery in Compton, Perdita Hunt, is to make a valiant attempt to raise funds for the gallery by swimming a part of the Solent. The attempt is to be made tomorrow, Saturday, September 27.

The Spithead separates the Isle of Wight and the Portsmouth mainland. It is an extremely busy stretch of water, frequently used for yachting.

Accompanied by her son Louis, daughter Roxane and Sarah Giles, from the leading IT provider Project Five, Perdita will be further supported by two canoeists, including Watts Gallery volunteer, Michael Binnie, who will paddle in a kayak for the very first time.

Their route will be from Gilkicker Point to Ryde Sands a distance of 2.6 miles.


George Frederic Watts’ studio. This is how the studio appeared during the artist’s lifetime.

The aim is to raise at least £10,000 through the swim which will go towards the Saving the Watts Studios fund.

However, the historical building’s future will only be guaranteed if the Watts Gallery Trust manages to raise a total of £680,000 by the end of the year. Raising this amount will unlock a grant pledged by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will enable the trust to complete the first phase of the project.

Speaking about the importance of Saturday’s event, Perdita said: “The hardest part of any appeal is the last part. The hardest part of the swim is getting in, dodging the tankers and finding dry land.

“If I know that there are people generously giving of their funds to support the studios, it will make the project and the swim achievable. Thank you to anyone who can respond. Every donation makes a difference.”

Those wishing to make a donation can do so by:
Texting ‘WATT14’ followed by the amount you would like to donate to 70070
Visiting or
Posting a contribution to: Solent Swim, Watts Gallery, Down Lane, Compton, Surrey GU3 1DQ. Please make cheques payable to Watts Gallery.

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