In wet and miserable conditions more than 120 brave souls took the plunge into the chilly waters of the Gareloch at noon on New Year’s Day.
The annual meeting of masochists, the New Year Swim, has been part of the annual calendar in Helensburgh for well over 90 years.
It originally took place at Helensburgh Pier but when its survival was threatened by health and safety issues at the pier the swim was moved to Rhu Marina.
This year the weather conditions meant that numbers were down but there were still enough valiant folk who turned out to take part or just to spectate to raise £396 for RNLI funds.
The water temperature was 8 degrees while outside it was 9.5 degrees and this year the youngest swimmer was Charlotte Johnson (10).
Cheerful musical background and commentary was provided by the team from Your Radio, Gary Pews and John Scott.
Now organised under the auspices of the RNLI the swim is held courtesy of the crew of the local lifeboat and the directors and staff of the marina.
The ladies of the RNLI fund-raising committee were on hand to provide hot soup for the swimmers who each received a special certificate, with the motto “Many are Cauld but Few are Frozen”, produced by Donald Fullarton on paper provided by Alan Cavana of Admin Systems.
This year was the first for some 30 years which has not been organised by former Provost Billy Petrie and his family and instead the reins have been handed over the Colin Gardiner of the RNLI with help from Fiona Howard and Graham Barr.
Billy said: “It was really my wife Jean and daughter Barbara who made that happen and who really did most of the work over the years and I really feel that now I have lost them both it is time for me to hand over to others.”
Over the years that the Petrie family has been organising the swim the annual bucket collection for the RNLI has gone from just £16 in the first year to a grand total of £12,392 with the largest collection in 2011 of £1,183.
This figure could be considerably increased by the money raised for other causes by sponsored swimmers who have come from all over Scotland and from as far afield as America, Canada, Norway, Holland, France, Germany, Poland and Ireland.
The oldest swimmer taking part in the past 30 years was 82 years old and the youngest just six and one of the best known swimmers was John McFall then MP for the Dunbartonshire constituency who accepted Billy’s invitation to come along a meet his “floating voters”.
The Roll of Honour:
Sarah Adair, Lorna Aitken, Ben Allday, Bob Anstey, William Anstey, Alastair Begg, Ben Boyle, Helen Buri, James Branman, Arnold Bretman, Emily Briggs, M. Briggs, David Bruni, Arlene Burry.
Zoe Canty, James Chamberlain, Lyndsay Campbell, Tony Campbell, Mark Caswell, Tom Claxton, Kirsty Collins, Mary Connolly, Clare Davis, Leeanne Devenny, Dean Durrant, Maria Dye.
Colin Glegg, Finola Fingleton, Maria Fingleton, Sinead Goward, Stephanie Goward, David Gray, Marion Gillespie, Jennifer Hall, Keith Hall, Nikki Harvey, Susan Hendry, Alastair Hope, Katie Hope.
Bill Inglis, Ella Jackson, Alex Johnson (12), Charlotte Johnson (10), Lesley Johnson, Miranda Johnson (15), Ferene Keleman, Jaclyn Keenan, Dale King Evans (plus five others in the Oxford Quidditch Club), Louise Keenan Lamb, Graham Kelly, Liv Kelly.
W.E. Lawrence, Alex Lewis, Stephen Lewis, Vanessa Livesley, Riona Lynch, Kim McCallion, Alatair MacFarlane, Lewis McGinty (14), Claire McKinley, Colm McKinley, Pat McKinley, Mandy McLardie, Less McLaren.
Neil Manderson, Alice Meaden, Tracey Megson (plus seven others from SSAFA Faslane In-service Team), Andrea Middleton, Oliver Monteith, Colin Murphy, Kevin Murphy, Rebecca Murphy, James Osborn.
Joseph Palmer, Sarah Palmer, Lucy Paterson, Heather Parmenter, Mark Parmenter, Gary Potter, A. Raynes, Andrew Richardson, Katie Richardson, Kirsten Ridsdill, Thomas Ridsdill, Rachel Roberts, Steve Robinson, Zoe Robinson, Jenny Rogers, Michael Rolf.
Arwyn Schumacher, Chris Scott-Park, James Scobie, Ellie Scott, Isla Scott, Morag Scott, Lewis Serpell, Mick Serpell, Morgan Serpell, Robert Smith, Tina Smith, Eric Spaven, Amy Stanton, John Stanton, Stewart Tacchi, Frances Taylor, Isobel Thwaites, Catherine Thwaites, Sofie Tsiropouloi.
Charlotte Walliker, Lucy Walliker (15) Kirsty Walker, David Ward, Ian Ward, Hugh Welsh, Liam Welsh, Lyn White, Calum Wilson, Linda Wilson, John Wright, Katrina Wylie, Michael Yeomans, Wendy Young.
The Lifeboat Crew who were in the water as safety crew were: Robin Lane, Susan Hendry, Yan Jordan, Kenneth Miller, Jamies Clark, Chris Buet, Lorraine Craig, Jack Henderson, Alan Macdonald, Alistair Manderson, Joe Masterson and Colin Rettie.