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Putting the 'fun' in 'fundraising' as this Weymouth tradition marks its 70th anniversary of the Christmas Day Swim


This year marked the 70th anniversary of the Christmas Day harbour swim and organisers say it remains as popular as ever.

Around 330 people took part, with as many as four or five thousand people believed to have watched proceedings from the harbourside, with many enjoying a festive drink.

Mark Lockie, of the Weymouth and Portland Lions Club, which organises the event, said he wanted to thank everyone who helped with what has become a huge community tradition.

He added: “It’s as much about putting on an event for the people of Weymouth as it is about fundraising.

“The swim first took place in 1948 and it’s great that it’s still going. It’s very popular from a viewing perspective, and I think there were around four or five thousand people watching from the harbourside.”

The tradition began when Don Laker and Reggie Bugler swam across the harbour for a bet 70 years ago.

Mr Lockie said he would like to thank Pontoonworks for supplying the pontoon, sponsors the Kings Arms and Weyline Taxis, the Methodist Church for providing a venue for the registration and all the Lions Club members and their wives for the help with organising everything.

Norman Apps, spokesman for the Weymouth and Portland Lions Club, said: “There really was a fantastic atmosphere. We had fewer swimmers than last year but that didn’t mean there was less of an atmosphere.

“I think more and more people are getting involved in the fancy dress aspect, and there were some wonderful costumes this year which was really great to see.

“The weather was kind to us, and the rain kept off for the duration of the swim. All in all it was a great event.”

There’s still time to donate as part of the event’s fundraising - all funds raised will be distributed by the Lions Club to local good causes in Weymouth and Portland.

Source: Dorset Echo