Sidmouth swim raises �1,700

Sidmouth’s Boxing Day Swim took a dramatic turn but raised around �1,700 for the RNLI.

Organisers at the Regatta Committee have a long-standing relationship with the lifeboat charity for their work as a national cause.

They also make donations with Sidmouth Lifeboat, the town’s independent organisation which supervised during the day.

The big dip saw some 370 costume-clad swimmers take a premature plunge after the fundraisers mistook a noise from the crowd for the order to start.

Oliver Salter, from the Regatta Committee, said: “Whilst the latecomers were still being registered by the organisers and swimmers were still making their way onto the beach it appears that a child’s toy inadvertently triggered an early start without the usual planned countdown and supervision.”

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Three people got into trouble in the water pulled from the breakwater rocks by Sidmouth Lifeboat and members of the sailing club.

Oliver’s colleague Keith Knight said: “Five or six years ago it was just 20 people, now there are almost 380 people of all ages - not just youngsters trying to shake off a hangover.”

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The swimmers were aged from six to 81, in a record turnout year for the swim.

Despite minor injuries, most swimmers said they weren’t deterred and would be returning for the swim in 2013.

The Regatta Committee gave thanks to Sidmouth Lifeboat, Sidmouth Police, Sidmouth Sailing Club, Port Royal Club and the Sidmouth RNLI committee

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