New Year swimmers feel the chill in icy plunge!

From the left, ladies' race winner Debbie Lorimer, men's race winner Jack Cryer and girls' race winner Holly Owen

From the left, ladies' race winner Debbie Lorimer, men's race winner Jack Cryer and girls' race winner Holly Owen

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The plunging temperatures perhaps reduced the number of swimmers but it sure attracted lots of spectators to watch them at this year’s New Year Swim last Sunday.

Organised by Todmorden Swimming Club with the support of Todmorden Lions at Lee Dam, Lumbutts, around 80 people watched ten hardy swimmers dash into the water on one of the coldest days of an otherwise wet and warm winter.

It has long been supported by swimmers and spectators from throughout the Calder Valley.

The swim is a major fundraiser for the swimming club, which among other things runs courses teaching people of all ages to swim.

Wooden trophies thrown into the water give the swimmers a point to aim at as they dash into the dam.

Among those taking to the water this year was the club’s own Debbie Lorimer - and her first time dip saw her win the race for the ladies’ race trophy.

Jack Cryer’s orienteering abilities didn’t let him down in the water and he was first to the men’s trophy in a close race.

There were no entries in the boys’ category this time but Holly Owen swam well to secure the girls’ trophy.

Debbie said: “I’ve been asked every year but just entered quietly this year - the water was only five degrees centigrade and that’s cold. The snow around just added to the theme!”

Following the swim, which is a tradition going back more than 50 years, certificates were presented and hot soup served at the nearby Top Brink, who were also given .

Among other organisations helping at the swim were Pennine Sub Aqua Club and St John Ambulance Volunteers from Rochdale, in addition to Todmorden Lions. Due to increasing difficulties getting insurance for the event its future was in doubt several years ago until the Lions stepped in, able to provide cover with their public event insurance.

Next up for Todmorden Swimming Club is its annual presentation awards night and disco on Saturday, January 23, from 6.30pm at Todmorden High School.