Swim is a brrr-illiant way to raise money for Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service

CHILLY New Year's Day swim at Stokes Bay is an annual tradition
CHILLY New Year's Day swim at Stokes Bay is an annual tradition

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HUNDREDS of people will plunge into icy waters to raise cash for good causes at a charity swim on New Year’s Day.

Every year people run into the sea at the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service’s (Gafirs) lifeboat station at Stokes Bay, Gosport.

The event is open to all charities and swimmers who want to arrange sponsorship.

The Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Chris Carter, will signal the start of the chilly charity dip at midday.

Swimmers will plunge in from the slipway and immerse themselves in the Solent.

Gafirs coxswain Mike Allen said: ‘It is an event that has grown and grown over the years. It’s a big day on our calendar and it’s a big social event where everyone has a good time and raises some money for good causes.

‘Originally it was just to raise money for Gafirs but we’ve opened it up to other charities so it benefits people from across the area. It’s also nice to be able to show people what we do and let them find out more about us as a lifeboat station.’

All money raised by each swimmer will go to their nominated charity.

Gafirs will have its own swimmers on the day and will be holding collections.

Swimmers should arrive in fancy dress at the Gafirs lifeboat station in Lifeboat Lane at 11.30am. On arrival you will need to fill out a registration form.

Changing facilities and hot drinks will be provided for swimmers in the lifeboat station. And each swimmer will be presented with a certificate as confirmation they have been in the sea.

Unless it is needed elsewhere, the coastguard helicopter will also perform a sea rescue demonstration along with the crew at Gafirs.

Gafirs costs £35,000 to run each year and depends on donations and fundraising events. The service was recently awarded more than £6,000 from the NatWest Community Force grant scheme, thanks to people who voted in support of the charity.

For more information or to arrange for Gafirs to be your chosen charity call 07017 031017.