Fundraisers saddened to cancel annual Christmas Day swim in Bournemouth

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee

Christmas morning would have seen hundreds of people take part in the annual fancy dress 'White Christmas Dip' off of Bournemouth beach, but this year it has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

One local charity says it is a huge blow as it will lose out by tens of thousand of pounds usually raised during the event.

Last year, more than 1,200 hardy swimmers raised more than £50,000 pounds for the Macmillan Caring Locally charity. 

The event was set up cousins Tommy and John, after their dad and uncle John White was helped by Macmillan following a cancer diagnosis. 

Tommy (left) and John (right) are in a support bubble together. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Tommy says: "Year on year we've gone from strength to strength with more and more people joining us. Last year was a record year, so we were all ready and excited this year. but then Covid hit."

John says they weighed up the risks and decided they had to cancel this year's event.

He says: "It was a case of do we do it with the risks involved or do we do the sensible thing so we had to cut it short and say this years not our year." 

Some lone swimmers are still expected to take the plunge, however there won't be lifeguards on duty, so extra care will be needed. 

Lifeguard Katie Holt says: "At the moment the sea is a very cold so hypothermia is a big risk. Also cold water shock is a massive risk so when you go in, it can make you freeze and not know where you are and you can get disorientated. So we want people to know the risks before they go in."  

White Christmas Dip in 2019

This is the biggest annual fundraising event Macmillan 'Caring Locally' benefits from, so the loss will hurt.

Neal Williams from the charity says: "There's no doubt this will impact our services in 2021.  Since the pandemic started we've had lots of fundraising events cancelled and we've got through those, we've re-focused.  Our fundraising teams have worked very hard to look at alternative ways of funding, but this is a big blow for us."

Disappointed swimmers are still being encouraged to help out the charity online.