Brave swimmers take the plunge for New Year dips at Otley and Ilkley (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Brave swimmers take the plunge for New Year dips at Otley and Ilkley
The chilly temperatures and rapid current failed to put off about 27 people taking part in the annual Otley dip held at noon today.
Hundreds of spectators watched from the banks of the River Wharfe as participants stripped to their swimming costumes for about a ten metre paddle.
Carole Deighton, 70, completed the swim for the 17th and final time this year, accompanied by her 17-year-old grandson, James Hobkirk.
She said: “I said now that I’ve got to 70 it will be my last year, but having just done it I would do it again.
“I was in the life saving club and we used to swim in the river in the summer months. It is so refreshing and a great atmosphere.”
The event was held in memory of Joe Town, a former life-saver teacher, from Yeadon, who passed away in 2011, and had previously organised the event for more than 25 years. The event, now known as The Joe Town Memorial Swim, collected funds in aid of The Camphill Family charity, which helps vulnerable adults.
The event was organised by a few individuals including family friend Stuart Tasker and Mr Town’s daughter, Helen Town.
Meanwhile, in Ilkley hardy swimmers enjoyed what some described afterwards asw an “invigorating and refreshing” experience in the historic spa of White Wells.
Since 1995, people have been queuing up to take a New Year’s Day dip in the 8ft by 6ft stone bath, where the temperature is estimated at seven degrees centigrade.
People of all ages took part in the tradition, including Hadrian Branston, 41, from Morley, along with his two daughters and their friend.
His daughter, 11-year-old Hannah Branston, said: “It was very cold. I did it last year, but it is still a shock when you get in, you can’t prepare yourself for it.” Mark Hunnebell, who runs and lives at the White Wells, takes a dip in the spa every day of the year. He predicts that more than the 167 people will have braved the dip this year.