Time to take the plunge as annual tradition is back

Brrr! Swimmers take the plunge at the last swim
Brrr! Swimmers take the plunge at the last swim

Swimmers are being encouraged to take the plunge and make a splash to raise charity cash as a popular tradition returns.

The annual New Year Swim, organised by Todmorden Amateur Swimming Club (TASC) and sponsored by Todmorden Lions Club, will be held at Lee Dam, Lumbutts, on Sunday, January 12.

Competitors are invited to brave the icy waters and retrieve the wooden cup which is thrown in the water.

All entrants will be rewarded for their efforts with warm soup and a roll at the nearby Top Brink afterwards, where the prizes will be presented.

Debbie Lorimer, of TASC, is hoping for favourable weather to avoid the postponements that have beset the event in recent years when thick ice meant conditions were too dangerous to go ahead.

“We’re hoping for a milder start to January,” she said.

“Hopefully the weather is on our side. Cool and crisp would be nice.”

The New Year Swim has been running for more than 50 years and has become a highlight of the social calendar in the upper Calder Valley, with people from near and far coming to take part in the event.

But a problem with arranging insurance cover for participants in recent years threatened the end of the event until Todmorden Lions Club stepped in to offer its support.

“Without them, it would not happen any more,” Debbie said.

“We almost threw in the towel but then they offered their support.

“We are able to draw on their knowledge of how they go about things. We’d like to say a big thank you to them.”

Debbie is encouraging anybody who has thought about taking part in the swim but not yet done it to be brave in 2014.

“Just go for it,” she said.

“There’s the temptation of soup afterwards to warm yourself up.”

Prizes are awarded for the men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ races.

The event is also supported by local scouts and the Pennine Sub Aqua Club.