HUNDREDS of brave swimmers donned fancy dress to mark the new year with a dip in the sea at Lyme Regis.

More than 600 people are thought to have taken part in the annual Lyme Lunge on January 1, which has so far raised £2,834.89 for Dorset County Hospital’s Cancer Appeal.

This was the eleventh year the event, organised by the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis, has taken place with crowds flocking to sandy beach dressed in an array of fancy dress, including duck costumes, super heroes and cheer leaders.

Around 6,000 residents and visitors packed the seafront and Lister Gardens to watch the ‘lungers’ make their way into the sea, who were rewarded when they came out with hot soup provided by the Harbour Inn.

Lyme Regis Mayor, Cllr Michaela Ellis and town crier Alan Vian officially started the event and the swimmers - including the rotary club’s president, Peter Fortnam, who was dressed as Donald Trump - made a mad dash into the water, while the lifeboat crew watched over their antics and made sure they were safely brought back to shore.

John Berry, a member of the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis, said: “It absolutely went really well, which was helped with a really sunny day.

"We had a massive crowd turn up - the highest for four or five years - we estimate around 600 people as those who went in the water were offered hot soup and we ran out of cups, which we had just over 500 of.

"We raised nearly £3,000 through collection on the day, so we still have sponsorship to come in.

"Everyone had a good time and it all went to plan."

Before the Lyme Lunge, people gathered to take part in the annual duck race, which raises money for the Lyme Regis Christmas Lights.

The event started at Higher Mill Flats, Windsor Terrace, with ducks racing down the River Lym.