Bracing start to the year!

New Year's Day dip opposite Rossall Hospital to raise money for local children Leah Garfitt and Molly Robinson.

New Year's Day dip opposite Rossall Hospital to raise money for local children Leah Garfitt and Molly Robinson.

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IT was a chilly and choppy New Year for these brave souls!

These Fleetwood folk celebrated the first day of 2012 by plunging into the Irish Sea in a bid to raise hundreds of pounds for two good causes.

This year swimmers braved the icy temperatures in aid of two very special local girls – nine-year-old Leah Garfitt and little Molly Robinson.

Leah, from Waverley Avenue, Fleetwood, suffers from the rare Niemann-Pick disease while eight-year-old Molly, from Manor Road in the town, is battling cancer, and has just returned from having treatment in America.

Beverley Whittaker, whose husband Barry is behind the swim, said: “We always try to do it for local charities. This year it was brought to our attention about Molly Robinson and Leah Garfitt, and we thought we would do it for two local girls who need it. Molly was there, and her dad did the swim, and Leah’s mum came down to support us.”

Last year the swimmers raised £1,000 for Brian House Children’s Hospice, and Beverley hopes there will be a similar fund-raising total this year.

Despite it being one of the warmest festive periods in recent times, it certainly wasn’t mild in the water!

Beverley, 36, said: “It was freezing, it was the coldest it’s been.”

Barry, 39, who has organised the dip for the last six years, said: “It’s gone really well, there were a lot of people watching, and the weather didn’t put people off. There were more people watching than we’ve had in the last few years.”