Pauline Barker from Devon has been awarded the MBE for services to open water swimming in South West England.


Pauline founded Devon and Cornwall Wild Swimming in 2010 and the various groups and sub groups now have over 20,000 members and focusses on water safety, friendship, fun and sharing the beauty of our wonderful coastline and rivers. She is also known as “Mama Bear” across the UK and now internationally for her work in promoting safe open water swimming through the winter months through the Polar Bear Challenges and “Outdoor Swimmer” Magazine voted it the best winter swim challenge in the world in December 2020.


She was the first woman in the world to swim 10 “ice miles” under International Ice Swimming Association Accreditation (a mile in water of 5 degrees Celsius or less wearing only a swimming costume, goggles and a normal latex swim hat). Additionally she was also the first (and the only) woman in the world to achieve an ice mile swimming only butterfly.


She has represented Great Britain in International Ice swimming events in countries ranging from USA and China to Russia, Poland and Slovenia and is well known and respected across the International Winter Swimming community. She has also completed 4 channel relay crossings and a two-way swim of Lake Windermere. She was the first GB president of the International Ice Swimming Association and she organised the first IISA GB championships at Loch Lomond in 2017.


Her motto and advice is to “get into the water, swim and be kind”.