How a lifetime of love has inspired Val’s Boxing Day plunge

20th December 2017


A MUM who lost her daughter to spina bifida 16 years ago, has completed her final Boxing Day swim.

Val Conway from Llandudno has been fundraising for Shine for almost 50 years and just one of her annual events is the Boxing Day dip in the town.

Val took part in her 25th and final swim in the icy water at Llandudno in aid of Shine and her local church.

She started raising funds for the spina bifida and hydrocephalus charity when her daughter, Susie, was born with spina bifida. Susie (pictured here with Miss Wales in 1980) was 32 years old when she died from the condition in 2001.

Val said, “I didn’t know where to turn to when I had Susie, so I contacted Shine and they were wonderful. Each year I dress up for the swim and this year I will be Minnie Mouse.”

Val helped organise fundraising pram races for Shine for 19 years and for the past 15 years, she has organised the Susie Sunshine Walk. The walk along the Llandudno Promenade in memory of Susie has raised thousands of pounds for Shine - including more than £3,400 since 2012 alone. Val said it is a lovely way to keep Susie’s memory alive. She added: “Susie was always smiling and the people of Llandudno named her Susie Sunshine.”

Shine CEO, Kate Steele, said: “Val is one of the first people I met when I joined Shine in 2009 and from that moment I could see that her passion and enthusiasm to support the work we do, and her determination to help others shows no limits. We’re extremely lucky and very grateful to Val for everything she has done to make a positive difference to the lives of people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. I know that many in Llandudno who have the good fortune to know Val will agree. Good luck on Boxing Day, Val!”

The walk has been kindly organised by the Lions Club of Llandudno.

To support Val’s swim challenge go to: or contact Shine on 01733 555988.

Related Stories

Donate Become a member