Sunny Lowry and Jabez Wolffe training at Cliftonville
Sunny Lowry and Jabez Wolffe. Image shows Channel swimmer Sunny Lowry with trainer Jabez Wolffe (himself an unsuccessful Channel swimmer) in training at Cliftonville, Margate. Here they are flying Sunny’s Manchester flag.
Sunny made the flag herself during her relaxation time to remind her of her roots, a Manchester bee in the centre, a Union Jack in one corner and a Lancashire rose in the other. L.S.C. on the top is ‘Levenshulme Swimming Club’. Sunny expects the flag to be flown on her support vessel or rowboat when they accompany her on her swim.
The flag is now in the collection of Dover Museum
Ethel (Sunny) Lowry was trained by Jabez Wolffe. She successfully swam the Channel on Aug 28 1933, time 15 hours 41 mins from Cap Gris-Nez to St Margaret’s Bay. In 1933 there were 18 attempts and only Sunny was successful. Sunny swam in a two-piece swimming costume now at Dover Museum.
She had two unsuccessful attempts: Aug 10 1932 (time 14 hours 00 mins) and July 27 1933 (time 6 hours 00 mins).
She became the President of the Channel Swimming Association in 2000.
In 2003 Sunny was inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame. In 2005 she was awarded the MBE for services to swimming. In 2014 “The Sunny Lowry Road” was opened in Beswick. The swim of 1933 was finally recognised by the CSA, in March 1958, through the perseverance of her husband.
Jacob Jabez Wolffe (1876 – 1943), son of a Glasgow watchmaker, made 21 unsuccessful attempts to swim the Channel from 18 July 1906 to 15 July 1914.
He made three attempts in 1906. Two in 1907. Four in 1908. Two in 1909. 2 in 1910. Two in 1911. Two in 1912. One in 1913 and one in 1914. The first World War then put a stop to his attempts.
He swam a double Solent in June 1914. After the War he trained Gertrude Ederle on her unsuccessful attempt in 1925. He then trained three successful Ladies; Hilda Sharp, Aug 1928. Peggy Duncan Sept 1930, and Sunny Lowry Aug 1933.
He married Florence Adeline Hurwitz at London in 1898
He moved to Brighton to operate as a swimming trainer, the home town of his own trainer Billy Kellingly. Billy soon afterwards moved to Deal in Kent and in the early 1930s, in the middle of training Sunny Lowry, the Wolffes moved to Margate. With the outbreak of war in 1939 he moved back to Hove where he died in 1943