IT was for the sake of ‘Cold Lang Syne’ that brave swimmers took to the freezing Irish Sea for the traditional Fleetwood New Year’s Day Dip.
The hardy fundraisers plunged into the water close to the port’s Marine Hall for the annual charity paddle among the waves at noon – despite the spine-tingling temperature.
The tradition is now in its fifth year and raises funds for charities including Chloe’s Wish To Walk, which aims to help 10-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Chloe New undergo an operation to strengthen her legs.
Chloe is unable to walk for long distances but it is hoped a neurosurgical procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy could reduce tight and stiff muscle tone in her lower limbs.
Around £17,000 has been raised so far by Wish To Walk, and her family is now aiming to fly out to the USA in May so she can have the operation.
Her mum, Angela New, 36, of Agnew Road, Fleetwood, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic and we’ve had about 70 people who were fund-raising for her today.”
Dip organiser Phil Gibson, from Fleetwood Kite Club, said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant.
“The turnout was a lot more than I expected.
“It’s a good way to showcase what Fleetwood’s got to offer too.
“The good thing is a lot of people from different organisations got together.”
Several sports clubs including Fleetwood Gym FC and Fleetwood RUFC Rugby Union Club took part, while members of Fleetwood Coastguard were on hand to oversee the event.
Coastguard rescue officer Anton Vink said: “It’s been a really nice successful day for everyone.
“It was a bit fresh up here on the beach so it can’t have been any warmer for them down there.”
Kite surfers Paul Jones, 37, and Mel Overton, 30, took the plunge.
Paul said: “It was freezing but what else is there to do on New Year’s Day.”
Mel said: “The water was pretty strong as well, it’s a good hangover cure.”
Gavin Egan, 33, of Shakespeare Road, Fleetwood, also took up the chilly challenge.
He said: “It was extremely cold but it’s for a good cause.
“I wouldn’t do it just for the sake of doing it.”