Tak­ing to the wa­ter

Swim­mers and skiers brave chilly loch for char­ity

Lennox Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Tara Fitz­patrick

The first day of Jan­uary may have brought some cold and driz­zly weather, but that didn’t stop the ad­ven­tur­ous mem­bers of Loch Lomond Wa­ter Ski Club (LLWSC) and the He­lens­burgh Lifeboat Sta­tion, who both took to the wa­ter for some New Year’s Day fun.

Hundreds of swim­mers and wa­ter­skiers cel­e­brated the be­gin­ning of 2018 by tak­ing to the freez­ing wa­ters of Loch Lomond and Rhu Ma­rina for their an­nual fundrais­ing events.

He­lens­burgh Lifeboat Sta­tion hosted their an­nual big dip in the chilly 7.5 de­gree wa­ter at He­lens­burgh’s Rhu Ma­rina at noon to raise money for Royal Na­tional Lifeboat In­sti­tu­tion (RNLI).

One hun­dred and sixty-three swim­mers, young and old, took part – with new­com­ers join­ing the reg­u­lars who take to the wa­ter ev­ery year.

A crowd of 300 on­look­ers sup­ported the swim­mers from the side­lines.

This year’s youngest swim­mer was sixyear-old Manni Gil­lies, from Dum­bar­ton, who swam with dad Christopher.

Jim Bran­nan, from Bal­loch, took to the wa­ter for the 53rd year and put his en­thu­si­asm for the event down to “stu­pid­ity”.

Through­out the morn­ing, the mem­bers of the He­lens­burgh lifeboat crew were on safety duty, with many of them spend­ing the en­tire time up to their waists in wa­ter.

The RNLI fund rais­ing com­mit­tee pro­vided hot soup, tea and cof­fee for the swim­mers, as well as spe­cial foil blan­kets spon­sored by Tun­nocks to pro­vide ex­tra warmth as the par­tic­i­pants came out of the wa­ter.

Car­rick Roy, who took over as lo­cal RNLI op­er­a­tions man­ager from Colin Gadiner on New Year’s Day, said: “I think ev­ery­thing went very well and we are de­lighted so many peo­ple turned up to take part and to watch.”

Mean­while, LLWSC hosted their an­nual fancy-dress wa­ter­ski at Cameron House Ma­rina.

Skiers took to the wa­ter in their cra­zi­est, fes­tive cos­tumes to raise money for Race Against De­men­tia, which was named by the club as this year’s char­ity.

Or­gan­iser David Hen­der­son said: “The club is very grate­ful to Cameron House Ma­rina, Inch­mur­rin Ho­tel, Mayles Wa­ter­sports and The Loch Lomond Res­cue Boat for their sup­port.”

David said the club were thank­ful to Cameron House Ho­tel staff for their sup­port fol­low­ing the tragic fire which claimed two lives two weeks ago.

He said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those af­fected by the re­cent tragic event at Cameron House Ho­tel.”

The to­tal raised is not yet con­firmed but or­gan­is­ers are hop­ing for the same suc­cess as last year which raised £939 for the lo­cal chil­dren’s char­ity Fast­works Bon­hill.

Fes­tive Alexan­der Greaves as an Elf. Pho­to­graph by Martin Shields Br­rrrrr! 163 swim­mers took to the chilly wa­ters Chilly Matt Lin­ning as the wild waiter

Su­per­hero David Ca­vana as Cap­tain Amer­ica Pic­ture: Martin Shields Walk­ing on wa­ter Par­tic­i­pant Stephen Kinghorn

Lovely day The sun shone through the clouds for swim­mers at Rhu Ma­rina

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