Local residents are invited to attend Bridport’s annual fancy dress swim at West Bay harbour on Boxing Day. 

Commonly referred to as the West Bay Wallow, this annual event sees hundreds of people brave the cold waters of the harbour dressed in an array of different costumes.

The event was started in 2004 by John and Marlyn McHugh in aid of Young Lives vs Cancer – formerly known as CLIC Sargent - as a tribute to their grandson Brett, who died of cancer at the age of ten.

Bridport Round Table took over the event in 2008, originally off East Beach and then the event moved to the harbour the following year.

Poor sea conditions and Covid-19 restrictions meant the event couldn’t run in 2020 and 2021. However, the event made a return in 2022 and managed to raise over £1,500 for the Bridport Round Table Charity fund which has gone towards local good causes.

These include groups such as Bridport Youth and Community Centre, Bridport Bandits, West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association and Bridport Rugby Club.

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Simon Hartley, chairman of Bridport Round Table, said: “Historically, we have been able to raise closer to £2,000 per year so it would be great if everyone can join in with supporting us on the day this year, either getting in for a swim if you’re feeling brave or coming along as a spectator to cheer everyone along.”

All proceeds raised from this year’s swim will go towards Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA), a charity which has close connections to Bridport Round Table.

He added: “They reached out to us earlier this year as they have connections with Round Table nationally and we were more than happy to help raise some much-needed funds to help them to continue the amazing work they do locally.

“We will have a team of collectors dotted around West Bay on the day with donation buckets so please give generously to what is an amazing cause.

Georgia Beard, Corporate and Relationships Officer at Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, said: “We are delighted that Bridport Round Table are fundraising for our life-saving charity at their Boxing Day Swim.

“With no direct funding from the Government or the National Lottery, donations that come from events like this are crucial in enabling us to continue saving lives.

"With every mission costing approximately £3,500 and our operational costs rising, this support is welcomed now more than ever. So, on behalf of everyone at the charity and the patients who need us, thank you to everyone involved for this fantastic support.”

Registration for the swim is from 10.30am before swimmers take to the sea at 12pm.

More information can be found on Bridport Round Table's Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/BridportRoundTable/