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Betty Freddi (1928-2021) - an original Brockwell Icicle

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

Betty Freddi who has died at the age of 93 was a legend.

In a world where the word has come to be used all too freely, if anybody could be said to encapsulate the meaning of the word, it was Betty.

Born in Camberwell, Betty became one of the most well-known sights in local swimming circles over the past decades, being a dedicated cold water swimmer at not just one but two swimming pools – Brockwell and Tooting Bec Lido.

Only taking up swimming in her mid-30s, Betty nonetheless became an original `Brockwell Icicle’ (along with Margy Sullivan and others) until it was closed in 1990 by Lambeth Council. She then moved to Tooting Bec and more or less stayed there, initiating amongst other things the SLSC (South London Swimming Club)’s monthly Newsletter. After the death of her beloved husband Bruno (who would ferry her back and forwards to Tooting), she became a more regular sight once more at Brockwell.

Nothing seemed to diminish Betty’s appetite or enthusiasm for swimming, even after she had suffered a heart-attack and when her sight was failing her badly. Thanks to kind friends, Betty still remained a popular feature of early morning swimming at `TBec’, and in later years, could be seen at Brockwell, steered across from her house just across the road from the lido, as chatty and positive thinking as ever.

Impervious to the chill, taking life in her stride – she had three children – and always a keen church choir member, she will be sorely missed at both pools, loved equally for her indomitable spirit, curiosity and interest in everybody and everything and for her broad smile. As one friend put it: `she was so much fun.’

Details of Betty's funeral

Betty’s funeral is being held on Wednesday 14 April at 2pm. The funeral will be broadcast online via link, accessible with a password. If you would like login details, please email us in advance using the contact form on this site.

Betty's request was that rather than flowers, a donation be made to the RNIB, an organisation that provided her with talking books when she could no longer read due to her glaucoma. As her eyesight failed, she listened to these books all the time. You can donate to the RNIB here. Please state that the donation is in memory of Mrs E Freddi.

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