The Mermaid and the Cow

by Lindsey Cole in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 13th November 2020 we successfully raised £8,735 with 332 supporters in 28 days

The Mermaid and the Cow is a fun kid's adventure book, based on a true story, which inspires readers to help save our mermaids and friends

by Lindsey Cole in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

With more funding I will be able to make a bigger print run, visit more  schools and community groups; and embark on a new mermaid swim adventure with a different environmental message and start work on the next "The Mermaid and the....."children's book. 

Pre-order your copy of The Mermaid and the Cow today to help bring it to print and inspire children (3-8 years) to save the mermaids and their friends through a fun and true story.

1602779435_the_mermaid_and_the_cow_cover.jpgBased on a true story, The Mermaid and the Cow is a colourful adventure tale, about a mermaid who goes on a quest to clean her river and subsequently makes an unlikely friend along the way. Having lost all my work during Covid, I finally managed to sit down to write and illustrate my story about the time I rescued a cow whilst mermaiding the River Thames. I've been sharing my story with thousands of school children for the last two years but with your support by pre ordering The Mermaid and the Cow today, children will be able to have their very own copy to enjoy at school and at home.

The Mermaid and the Cow is a fun, light hearted story, with splashes of humour, whilst also having an important environmental message. 


My story

1602770658_mermaid_saves_cow.jpgIn November 2018, I swam the length of the non-tidal River Thames as a mermaid for a plastic awareness campaign and subsequently rescued a cow. It was splashed onto page three of a national tabloid the next day. Despite being the first mermaid to ever swim the 120 miles of the Thames, and whilst it was very cold, the media only became interested in my story when I rescued a cow. I suppose they found it amoosing!  Six month later, I received an email from the director of a youth drama camp,  asking me for permission to use my tale. She said it had all the ingredients of a great children's story. I popped along to watch their performance and was udderly mooved seeing my story brought to life. So, I decided to write a children's book about my story, called The Mermaid and the Cow!


Why did I mermaid the Thames?

I cut my hand on a tiny piece of plastic whilst free diving in Indonesia. Miles from shore, I realised I was 1602500359_cut_hand.jpgsurrounded by tonnes of the brightly coloured manmade stuff. At a similar time a dead whale washed up further along the coast, with SIX kilos of waste found in it's stomach. The 1000 pieces of man made things that the whale had swallowed included:  flip-flops, bottles, bags and 115 drinking cups.


Back home in Britain, I realised the issue wasn't much better either. It made 1602774418_sad_mermaid.pngme really sad, and I wanted to do something about it. Some free divers don monofins, which reminded me of  mermaids. So, I decided to swim the length of the River Thames as a mermaid and hoped it would remind people  that  creatures live in our waterways and that we're littering their home. My artist friend, Barbara de Moubray, turns waste into wonderful sculptures and made the perfect support kayaker for the expedition. She paddled beside me with a six foot mermaid sculpture, named Samantha, that she'd made from 200 plastic bottles. By stuffing her with all the waste that we cleared along the twenty-two day journey, we highlighted how we're all choking our mermaids and their friends with plastic.


School visits 

I have visited over a hundred schools sharing adventure stories. When The Mermaid and the Cow is finally published, I will be able to continue doing what I love, sharing stories with young people, and leave a copy behind. I will donate one hundred copies of The Mermaid and the Cow to schools, libraries and groups to inspire them to live adventurously and help save the mermaids and their friends. I never really planned to be a mermaid, it just sort of happened, so I hope The Mermaid and the Cow will also inspire children to be whatever they want to be. 



I run environmental and storytelling workshops and encourage students to think about their plastic consumption through fun and engaging activities. 1602791879_img-0226.jpgOver lockdown, people from the swimming community posted their old discarded swimsuits to me, which would have otherwise gone into landfill. Clare, a fellow swimmer and textile designer, is turning them into a fabulous new tail, so when I do workshops I will be able to highlight how we can reduce consuming things by being more resourceful and reusing what we already own.


You can learn how to turn your own discarded belongings into fabulous new wonders by pledging for the Creative Upcycling Workshop with Clare and me. Money raised in this pledge will go towards Clare's time for making my new upcycled tail. 

The Future: The Mermaid and the......

I became a mermaid quite accidentally. I never anticipated how much children LOVE mermaids. Whilst wearing my tail I have been stroked, squealed after, demanded I read story after story, and had many secrets whispered into my ear. It's also been a great engaging tool to share an important message and inspire children to help save our planet. As a big wild and marathon swimmer I have plans for a series of adventure swims with different environmental themes, accompanying them with  The Mermaid and I've already thought about: the  the Polar Bear, the Koala, and the Penguin. Can you think of any good animals, environmental themes and their locations?


How is the money being spent?

  • Editors and proof readers
  • Digitalising and colour matching the art work
  • Designer to lay the text out onto pages and make the book print ready
  • Graphic designer for the front and back cover
  • Local printing in the UK, on FSC certified environmental paper. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.
  • Packaging and distribution
  • ISBN number and book listing 
  • Donation to We Swim Wild to measure the level of micro plastics in the rivers and lakes in Britain's national parks
  • Donation of 100 books 
  • Travel for some of the pledges
  • Marketing costs and Clare's time for making my new sustainably made tail

The Mermaid and the Cow will donate a percentage of proceeds to an inspiring plastic pollution tackling charity.

Lindsey is patron of We Swim Wild, a charity which is undertaking essential micro plastic research in our National Parks and urban regions across the UK to encourage cleaner water. 



"The Mermaid and the Cow is a timely, true(ish) story that gently inspires a love of nature with a good splash of humour! It's a most magical, meaningful adventure that will have kids gasping and giggling all the way to the litter bin."- Natalie Fee- author of How to Save the World for Free, award-winning environmental campaigner and founder of City to Sea.

Lindsey Cole is an unstoppable Force of Nature, an endlessly enthusiastic cheerleader for outdoor swimming, officially The Nation’s Top Mermaid
and, very occasionally, a saver of cows. -Mark Haddon- outdoor swimmer, parent and author of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

"This is a beautiful story about caring for our environment and animals. It shows children how to take positive action to prevent plastic pollution from harming wildlife and why it’s so important. The story is filled with hope, positivity and joy, and the intricate illustrations will have you and your little ones captivated from the first page. What an absolute treat of a book." -Cal Major, Ocean Advocate, World Record Stand up Paddleboarder, Founder of Paddle Against Plastic 

"The Mermaid and the Cow is a fun, engaging and colourful book on a very timely topic. It's unique and one of a kind. My 7 year old was especially inspired that it's based on a true story." Laura Sanderson, Founder of We Swim Wild, serial beach cleaner and mum. 

"This is a fun-filled book that not only the children will love but their parents too. It's a real hoot." Rowan Clarke, outdoor swim coach, mermaid and mum. 

"My nephew will love The Mermaid and the Cow, and I can't wait to read it to him. It's full of joy, fun and humour with an important message."- Jonathan Cowie, Outdoor Swimmer editor, uncle and merman.

Thankyou Thank you Thank you 

There is so much that goes into making a book. Far more than I ever realised. Naivety can sometimes be a blessing. Naivety and good humans. I couldn't have kept going without the support and encouragement of some wonderful people. Laura Sanderson, who is always at the end of the phone, whatever time, offering advice and encouragement. Rowan Clarke, a fellow mermaid who  took time out of her day to film my Crowdfund video. Jonna Bjornstjerna, who edited my first manuscript and encouraged me to illustrate the book my self. Jane Porter, who's been a stellar editor. David Stevens, who made the front cover and is neatening up the art work, laying down the text and making it print ready. Gareth at Gomer Printing who's answered a squillion questions from me. Mockingbird Press for digitalising my artwork to an excellent standard. Clare MacTaggart who's created a beautiful mermaid tail out of old discarded swimsuits. Tom Mayhew, who's been my absolute rock and put up with endless conversations about mermaids, cows and the different colour possibilities of grass for FIVE months. He also wrote the music for the Crowdfund video. To everyone who's supported me on social media and answered any of my Insta polls, which has really helped making decisions with the book. To all the children and their parents for lending them to me as I read The Mermaid and the Cow to them at various stages.  And finally, to anyone who has got this far and has pledged to pre order a copy of the book. I've never worked so hard on anything and it udderly means the world to me. Thank you!

And finally, to brighten your day. I'll leave you with Luna,  a crew member from The Mermaid and the Cow Crowdfund video who preferred to be in front of the camera. 

Thank you so so much for supporting me and helping to bring The Mermaid and the Cow into print. So much love, Linds x



This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£10 or more

The Mermaid and the Cow book

The Mermaid and the Cow book (inc P&P to anywhere in the UK and Ireland) and an illustrated thank you e card.

£3 or more

Thank you so mooch

Thank you for showing your love and believing in this project. I'm udderly grateful for your kind support.

£5 or more

Illustrated thank you E card

A personalised illustrated Thank you email card

£13 or more

The Mermaid and the Cow (P&P overseas)

The Mermaid and the Cow book (inc P&P to anywhere in the world) and an illustrated thank you e card.

£15 or more

Have yourself a very Mermaid Christmas

The Mermaid and the Cow book AND a set (4) of The Mermaid and the Cow Xmas cards (inc P&P to anywhere in the UK and Ireland).

£110 or more

5 of 6 claimed

2x 1 hour swim coach sessions

I'm a qualified outdoor swim coach who swims year round and has competed in Ironman, marathon and adventure swims in rivers and seas. If you'd like help with technique, training for an event or an introduction into cold water swimming then I'd LOVE to help. Also inc: a signed copy of the book with your name in the back and a set of Xmas cards. Sessions: 1hour long. Dest: Clevedon Marine Lake. Includes £5 donation to Marlens per session

£150 or more

1 of 7 claimed

Virtual mermaid school visit

Why don't you club together with some friends and teleport me into your children's classroom as I read the Mermaid and the Cow to them and their school friends, talk about my sustainably made tail and tell them how they can save the mermaids too. Also inc: 5 signed school books, a set of Xmas cards and your child's school in the back of the book.

£275 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Mermaid visit to a school, community or bday party

Would you like me to visit your child's school, their bday party or even your own swim group to read The Mermaid and the Cow and talk and do all things mermaid? Why don't you clob together with some other parents and friends. Also incl: ten signed books, your school's name/child's name/community group in the back of the book. Can be booked later next year when things become rosier and safer. Travel included to England & Wales. Dur: 2 hour

£24 or more

111 of 111 claimed

Déjà Moo- 2 signed books AND your name in the back

Two signed copies of The Mermaid and the Cow (inc P&P to anywhere in the UK), an illustrated thank you e card, a set of Xmas cards AND your name in the back of the book.

£30 or more

5 of 5 claimed

Know what it takes to become a mermaid

Do you want to know what it takes to embark on an adventure swim, with or without a mermaid tail? Join me for a zoom chat as I share my tale of how I mermaided the Thames and rescued the cow and the highs and lows that are involved in a multi-day/week swim adventure (like logistics!) 40 mins. Also inc: 1 signed book, name in the back of the book, set of Mermaid and the Cow Xmas cards and an illustrated thank you e card

£30 or more

5 of 5 claimed

Write your OWN children's book

Have you always wanted to write your own children's book? Join me for a zoom as I share EVERYTHING I learned (there's alot involved in making a book), the things I wish I knew earlier, the 'formula' for a good story and how to turn your story into an actual proper sniffable book. Hurray! Duration: 90 minutes. Also includes: a signed copy of the book, your name in the back, and a set of The Mermaid and the Cow Xmas cards.

£40 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Creative Upcycling Workshop

Don't throw your old favourite unwearable fabric away. Upcycle it into art or something fabulously new to wear. Join Clare and me in zoom as we talk about how she made my new mermaid tail out of old discarded swimsuits and follow along as she uses her 25 years of textiles experience to teach me how to be resourceful and make something exciting and new that all the other mermaids will envy. Duration: 90 mins

£50 or more

4 of 4 claimed

It's pasture bedtime

Have the night off from story time and zoom me into to your home as I read your kids The Mermaid and the Cow at bedtime. And yes, of course, I'll be wearing my fabulous new upcycled mermaid tail. Also includes: 2 signed books, your child's name in the back, an illustrated thank you e card, a set of Christmas cards AND a personalised written Xmas card to your child. Duration: 30 mins.

£225 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Your child drawn into the last scene

Let your child forever be friends with the mermaid and the cow, as they're drawn into the very last scene of the book. Send me a picture of them in their favourite outfit and tell me some characteristics so I can bring them to life in the book. Also includes: a print of the scene, a signed book, your name in the back of the book and a set of the Mermaid and the Cow Xmas cards.

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