Brave swimmers take to sea for New Year's Day swim in Clevedon
Fearless bathers braved the bracing water when they took the plunge in Clevedon yesterday.
At the annual swim at the North Somerset resort, 30 members of the Middle Yeo Surf Lifesaving Club, dressed as animals, dived into the waters of Marine Lake – which registered at just 6C – to blow the cobwebs of their New Year’s Eve celebrations away.
More than 1,000 people lined the seafront cheering on the fundraisers as they dived into the freezing lake after parading down from the nearby Salthouse pub.
The Clevedon swim, a tradition in the town’s festive calendar for more than 20 years, this year raised money for the Secret World Wildlife Centre in Highbridge, Somerset.
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The charity specialises in the rescue, rehabilitation and eventual release of Britain’s orphaned, injured and sick wildlife and is the only 24/7 service in the South West.
At 10.45am yesterday, Channel swimmer Steve Price, dressed as Noah, led the group to the water where they sang Old Macdonald Had A Farm, The Animals Went In Two By Two and Auld Lang Syne, with many spectators choosing to join in.
This year’s oldest swimmer was Joyce Peters, who is in her 80s, while the youngest was Bristol Channel swimmer Gary Carpenter, aged 20.
Organiser Rose Hurley, who dressed as a Polar bear, said: “It was absolutely fantastic – I would say the best one we have ever had.
“The weather was just amazing. The water was warmer than usual as well. We have had a wet year, but it hasn’t been that cold.
“People dressed up as all sorts of animals including pussy cats, a tiger, a reindeer, a bat and a crocodile.
“The crowd were terrific and gave us lots of support. We like to entertain them, it makes a great day out.
“Pauline Kidnek, from Secret World Wildlife Centre, dived straight in and put us all to shame.
“Afterwards we all warmed up with hot tomato soup and have a few well-earned drinks at the pub.
“It was great that the pub allowed us to get changed there and parade down there – it made it more of a spectacle for everyone.
“I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who took part and to everyone who came and supported us – it was absolutely brilliant.”
In Bristol, members of Henleaze Swimming Club took to the chilly water for the new year dip.
Billed as a chance to get out of the house following the “seasonal debauchery”, only members aged over 18 were allowed to take part.
Hot drinks were provided afterwards.