A CROWD of over 3,000 people packed East Beach and the nearby pier at West Bay today, Boxing Day, to watch as 55 swimmers braved the large swells for the fourth annual charity West Bay Wallow.

Swimmers raised money for a variety of causes with the beach collections going to West Dorset CLIC, which helps children with cancer.

Austin Slade, who arrived as the Pope, won the fancy dress competition judged by Bridport Mayor Geoff Ackerman.

John McHugh, of CLIC, who organised the swim, said: "This is the fourth annual West Bay Wallow and it is a very good community event.

"The swimmers are sponsored for different charities, including this year St John Ambulance, the air ambulance, RNLI and the baby unit at Dorchester.

"Thousands of people have turned out and to watch. The crowd just keeps growing."

He thanked Lyme Bay RIB Charter who supplied the safety boat for the fourth year in a row and also Bridport Round Table who also supported the event this year.

Mr McHugh said: "It gets bigger each year. Four years ago we had just 12 people and raised a few hundred pounds. This year we hope to raised about £2,000."