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Hundreds of hardy souls brave Stonehaven Nippy Dip

Hundreds saw in the New Year in intrepid fashion yesterday, braving the icy waters of the North Sea to raise money for charity.

Organisers of Stonehaven’s annual New Year Nippy Dip were staggered to see double the number taking part in the traditional event compared to last year.

Fully 300 people took the plunge, despite registered participants numbering just 60 the day before.

As many watched on from the harbour walls, making it the largest of the events ever held in the town.

Among those defying the cold were Santas, superheroes, rugby clubs and last-minute converts to the cause.

The dip raises money for the RNLI and Stonehaven Town Partnership, which arranges events in the community.

From left, Marie Lamont, Pauline McEwan and Johnnie Walkden.

Organiser Derek Malcolmson said: “There’s always a very family-orientated, family-friendly and buoyant atmosphere.

“It’s giving something back to the community.

“There were people from Wales and England who registered for the event on the day, which was great – they weren’t even aware of it until they came here.

“There were a huge number of spectators , everybody’s had a good time, the weather’s been on our side, and there’s been a real vibe about the place – everyone’s really happy.

“It’s a great opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and start the New Year afresh.”

Stonehaven RNLI crew member Lorraine Clark said: “It’s been a great event and very family-friendly.

“We had people in the water in case anybody got into difficulty but thankfully they weren’t needed.

“It was much bigger than I expected, and much bigger than last year, a really great turnout.”

Among the last-minute participants was Tom Colquhon, 26, from Aberdeen, who only decided to join in after the bells had rung in the New Year.

He said: “It seemed like a great idea last night – not so much when I got up this morning.

“Now that I’ve done it though, it feels great and I’d recommend it to everyone.”

Donna Smythe, 48, from Stonehaven, said: “I don’t know when I’ll feel warm again.

“Although it’s mild for New Year, the water’s freezing.

“This was my first time. Somebody said they usually get around a hundred people, but there’s definitely more than that took part today.

“I wasn’t expecting this – nor the size of the crowd.”

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