Record numbers of swimmers braced the icy water of Coverack’s harbour to take part in this year’s Christmas Day dip.

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An unprecedented 164 people got their day off to a bracing start when they stripped off and plunged into the sea to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Two years ago the event had just reached the 100 swimmers mark but since then numbers have grown even further.

Carol Lawrence, chairman of the St Keverne and Coverack fundraising committee for Cancer Research UK, said: “It seems to increase year on year.”

She said the challenge now was to make sure people taking part – including holidaymakers who visited every year – got sponsorship to do so, as many just did it for fun.

Carol said that if just 50 more people raised £100 that would be another £5,000 and would easily take them over the £10,000 fundraising mark.

Last year the swimmers raised just under £9,000 and so far this year £1,100 was collected on the day alone in donation buckets. This figure should be considerably boosted when sponsorship money comes in.

Carol thanked everyone who went round with collection buckets, encouraging people to donate, including committee secretary Helen Jones and helpers Jenny and Bob Markley, Ben and Georgia Roskilly, Jason Newton and John Campbell.

She also thanked past chairman Pippa Englefield for making a big batch of mulled wine to warm up the swimmers after they left the water and Hugh Richards for lighting a roaring fire to dry off by.

The Fishermen’s Rest was opened up as somewhere for those taking part to get changed in.

Among them was comedian David Baddiel, who owns a holiday home in the village and has begun making the swim a regular fixture on his Christmas calendar. Last year he caused great excitement by inviting fellow comedian Russell Brand to join him, as he tried to get over his split from pop star wife Katy Perry.

This year, as in previous years, the swimmers were led into the water by Carol and event stalwart Dave Philpott, who has been taking part for more than 40 years.

Carol added: “We’re very grateful for all the help and we need to thank all the spectators for coming and supporting us. There was a lovely atmosphere and it was much nicer this year, because the tide was in.”