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Bob around the pier

Robert Pelling and other members of Tide Chasers will be swimming between Brighton’s West Pier and Palace Pier to raise money for Martlets. Their friend and Tide Chaser teammate Bob Miller is currently being looked after on Martlets’ inpatient unit. Robert tells us what makes Bob special to so many people and why the fundraiser is important.

“This fundraiser is hugely important to us Tide Chasers, as Martlets is looking after our good friend Bob. The staff are always lovely at Martlets and you can tell people are looked after so well. They are looking after Bob now and he is so passionate about this event to raise money to support them.

Bob is one of those characters who, when you meet him, you just love him immediately. It doesn’t matter who you are, he gets on with everyone. He’s had his dark days and his demons like all of us, but he’s a genuine, lovely guy. He’s a super dad and it was his son’s tenth birthday yesterday. He is his son’s hero. I’ve known him for around 20 years now; you can just see the love and friendship he commands from so many people.

Bob is only in his mid-forties, but a few months ago he discovered he has stage four cancer. He hadn’t had any symptoms, but then suddenly he started getting acid reflux a lot. He didn’t feel well so he went to the doctor and then a specialist. They diagnosed terminal cancer.

I’d like to share this video Bob made about the importance of getting health checks regularly. He wants to get the message out to people that ‘this happened to me, don’t let it happen to you’.

Tide Chasers

Over the years, Bob has used the sea as his escape; it’s his way of coping with life and dealing with pressures. The sea has become his best friend and he just loves getting in the water.

Some of us got an online group together called the Tide Chasers and Bob has led the way. He’d say when he was going swimming and whoever was able to would go along. Bob’s always been the central character in the group. It’s not serious swimming, it’s getting out all year round and having some fun and relaxation. It might be swimming around the pier, or just getting your snorkel on and doing a bit of free diving; Bob is tremendous at that.

(I should probably just add here that if you’re reading this and thinking of outdoor swimming, please take care. If you’re a first timer, join one of the many swimming groups in Brighton. Don’t just go and jump in the water, particularly if it’s cold. You need advice on what you should wear, because if your body isn’t used to it, you’ll get cold water shock).

Although he is in Martlets right now, Bob’s determination to get back in the sea is still as strong as ever. He really is and inspiration and one of life’s unique gifts to us all.

Support our swim

During our ‘Bob around the pier’ swim, we will also be removing netting and ropes that litter the Palace Pier. It will be a sponsored beach and pier clean up as well as a swim.

We set a fundraising goal of £1,000, but we’ve already raised £2,600 thanks to the generosity of friends and family. We’re still keen to keep pushing the total though as Martlets needs support after this challenging year coping with COVID. Everyone in Brighton supports Martlets in their heads, but we need them to offer support by digging into their pockets too. We know it’s a difficult time and not everyone will have money to spare, but even small amounts help.

Hopefully, Government restrictions allowing, we aim to do our sea swim at the end of March. We’ll confirm the date soon. Meanwhile, Bob continues to be looked after by all those amazing people at Martlets. They are helping him to manage his pain. And hopefully they’ll get him home to share as much time as possible with his many loved ones.

If you can, please sponsor our fundraiser on his behalf. You’ll be helping us raise funds to support the wonderful work Martlets’ is doing. They are caring for Bob and for others in need at the heart of our local community. You can give via my Just Giving page, Bob Around the Pier. Thank you.”

Rob Pelling is chairman of charity Paddle Round the Pier and has always been passionate about the sea. He is a keen paddle boarder and has been involved in all sorts of global adventures on the water. These include assisting the first paddle board team to circumnavigate Easter Island in the Pacific. He is also part of a team preparing an expedition to paddle board down the Amazon river later this year. Then, in 2022, the team plans to paddle board across the Bering Strait (which separates Russia from the USA). But it is this fundraising challenge closer to home that is particularly important to him.