COURAGEOUS swimmers braved the stormy weather conditions as they took the plunge for this year’s Lyme Lunge on New Year’s Day.

There were 180 people who rushed into the sea just after 1pm, with the majority in fancy dress and there were also hundreds of people who lined the beach and the seafront to cheer them on.

As the Town Crier signalled the start of the event, the cheers from the swimmers soon turned to anguished shrieks as they entered the freezing cold water.

Jim Moseley, one of the organisers from the Lyme Regis Rotary Club, said: “We were determined not to have to cancel because of the weather like we had to for the carols around the tree and we didn’t want to disappoint so many people.

“There was a great turn out of swimmers and I was also really impressed with the amount of people who came out in the wind and the rain to watch it. We are all glad we didn’t cancel it now.

“I would like to say thank you to the RNLI and to the harbourmaster’s staff for all the help and co-operation they gave us, and a special mention to By the Bay restaurant which provided the swimmers with soup after the swim.”

A group of 15 people from four families travelled down from Leicester to take part in this year’s event, and were all dressed as ducks and schoolboys as they ran into the sea.

The group have also managed to raise more than £2,500 in sponsorship and will donate to the RNLI, Cancer Research, Macmillan Cancer Care and Battersea Dogs Home.

Richard, from the group, said: “We first heard about the Lyme Lunge this time last year and we all thought we’d like to join in with it.

“We came down here last week and we’ve been building up to it for a while, and we’re so pleased to have raised that amount of money.”

Keith Cole went into the freezing waters with an inflatable ostrich.

He said: “This is the worst weather we have ever had during the Lyme Lunge, but it won’t matter too much because we are wet anyway.”

John, Ella and Ali McLoughlin came from London to take part in their first ever Lyme Lunge celebrate.

John said: “We first came down in the summer and heard about the lunge, so we thought we would give it a go.

“My technique was to just put my head down and keep running until the water trips me up, and then run back out again.”