Late insurance issue sinks big swim

The swim was officially cancelled, but some went ahead with an icy dip anyway
The swim was officially cancelled, but some went ahead with an icy dip anyway

ELEVENTH hour problems with insurance cover meant this year’s New Year Swim did not take place and its future is in the balance.

Some swimmers did take the plunge into the waters at Lee Dam, Lumbutts, but did so unofficially after organisers Todmorden Swimming Club learned on Friday tea-time that its regular insurers would not cover Sunday’s scheduled swim.

The New Year Swim has been a tradition for more than 50 years and the club are keeping their options open about a 2013 event, but it may be responsible on a bigger group taking over its organisation and cover.

A spokesman for the club explained that the swim was unable to be held due to unforseen circumstances.

“At tea-time on Friday, January 6, we were notified that the insurers had declined the insurance which we needed to make this a viable event,” she said.

“We were sent a reminder at the beginning of December - it said renew a week before, which was initially accepted. Then the reason for declining given to us was that it was down to the underwriters declining the insurance.

“It left everyone disappointed.”

Even at that late stage, the club made efforts to find other insurers for the event. But some refused cover and in other cases the costings ran to amounts so large that the club could not fund them, even though it had some money to put into the event and had some greatly valued sponsorship help from Upper Calder Charities Assist (UCCA).

Additionally, Shirley and Alan Fielder of Ronald Ford Motor Spares, Salford Way, Todmorden, had donated raffle prizes and Martin and Mark Ashton of the village’s Top Brink inn were ready with reviving soup and rolls for swimmers - the club gave them all their thanks.

Through Saturday club members contacted as many people as possible to inform people the swim was off, including putting “cancelled” notices on posters.

The club is looking to find ways to ensure the event can continue but they will need help, said the spokesman.

This may mean a large organisation taking over the swim.

“We are looking at other ways of carrying on the event for next year, so anyone out there who has any helpful suggestions, they would be gratefully appreciated,” she said.

Anyone who can help should contact Susan Macdonald on 07789 097940 or Debbie Lorimer on 07513 123097.

Money raised from the swim helps Todmorden Swimming Club to run courses and hire instructors through each year to help people learn to swim, or to improve their swimming.