THE RNLI will not be fundraising at the usual Christmas Day Swim in Charmouth this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The traditional Christmas Day dip has been held for more than 45 years in Charmouth and has only ever been called off due to dangerous sea conditions.
It usually attracts hundreds of swimmers in fancy dress and has raised thousands for the RNLI over the years.
But ongoing COVID-19 restrictions has led the Lyme Regis and Charmouth Lifeboat Supporters Group to make the following announcement this week: “Because of the distancing restrictions and general safety issues which will almost certainly still be in place, the Lyme Regis and Charmouth Lifeboat Supporters will not be fundraising at the Charmouth Christmas Day swim this year.
“Throughout these difficult times the RNLI’s priorities have been the effective delivery of a life saving service and the welfare of our volunteer crew members. Sadly, this means our crew and fundraisers will not be supporting the Charmouth Christmas Day swim this year.
The announcement comes after the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis cancelled the annual Lyme Lunge, a similar event held on Lyme Regis beach every New Year’s Day.
While both the Lifeboat Supporters Group and Rotary Club recognise that they cannot stop people from going into the sea on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, swimmers do so at their own risk and should note that there will be no officials or lifeboat crew members on scene.
However, the Lifeboat Supporters Group added: “The crew does, of course, remain on stand-by for calls for assistance from anyone in difficulty at sea.
“So far this year the RNLI volunteers in Lyme Regis have answered 41 calls for help.”