Taking the plunge on New Year’s Day
PPREPARATIONS are under way for Southport’s newest tradition – which is now in its second year.
People are invited to bring in the New Year with a splash at the Fernley Event in Southport.
The event, which takes place on New year’s Day, commemorates the loss of 27 lives after the UK’s largest lifeboat disaster in 1886.
It also pays tribute to John Fernley, one of Southport’s biggest benefactors. One of the lifeboats lost in the disaster, the Eliza Fernley, was named after John’s daughter.
Everyone is invited to take part in the event for free and the bravest participants can swim in the Marine Lake, but others are welcome to walk, jog or run around the edge.
The names of the lost have been engraved onto the oars which are carried at the event and rested at the 1886 Memorial Obelisk on the Southport promenade.
Organiser Jonathan Cunningham, who has just finished filming the latest promotional video for the event at Southport Pier, said: “It’s going well and awareness of the disaster is growing but a lot of people are still unaware of it.
“Last year we had 24 people enter the water and around 250 people came to watch.”
“This year we’ve changed the location of the start and finish to under the pier so that the participants can cross the finish line with crowds around them.”
“It’s a great way to bring in the New Year, families can wrap up warm and those taking part will get a medal and a hot chocolate at the end.”
The Lifeboat crews have been confirmed for the day and, after Jonathan struggled to find a minister to lead the commemoration, Rev Martin Abrams stepped in.
The Methodist Minister at Southport Hospital said: “As a Southport lad, this is such an amazing event for such a great cause.
“I’m delighted to be part of this iconic Sandgrounder event and very much looking forward to leading the service at the 1866 Obelisk on Southport Promenade 11am on New Year’s Day.”
To find our more about how you can get involved in this year’s event visit www. thefernley.co.uk.
The Fisherman’s bell will ring to signal the start of the Fernley Event on New Year’s Day, organised by Jonathan Cunningham
Competitors at the inaugural Fernley Event found conditions bracing!