Boxing Day “Dip in the Sea” turnout a disappointment for organisers

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Portobello Beach was left empty after swimmers failed to show up (picture by Lee Kindness).

CHARITY organisers have been left high and dry – after their Boxing Day “Dip in the Sea” failed to recruit a single person.

The organisers of the event at Portobello Beach, Edinburgh, hoped the idea of a bracing dip would draw a decent crowd.

But the event had to be cancelled after the city’s no-show.

Organisers and Leukaemia In Childhood (CLIC) and Sargent Cancer Care for Children said they were baffled.

Edinburgh folk could now be facing “feartie” jibes because Boxing Day charity swims elsewhere in Scotland were a big hit.

A CLIC dip at Prestwick Beach and the annual Aberdeen “Nippy Dip” both attracted more than 200 revellers each.

CLIC Sargent event manager Emma Bashford said: “I just can’t understand it.

“We had to cancel when we realised that no-one had signed up, but everything’s been done the same in Portobello as elsewhere.

“We’ve got loads of interest at Prestwick, there are four different ones in Orkney, one at Stonehaven, one at Leven and at Rothesay.

The idea was to cover as much of the coastline as possible, but it just hasn’t happened in Portobello.”

When the idea was proposed a month ago, charity workers said they hoped around 100 people would turn up. Each person would have to raise at least £100, raising a minimum of £10,000 altogether.

The money raised would go towards helping the patients and families affected by childhood cancer.

The concept began in Ayrshire six years ago and has continued to grow ever since, with organisers particularly hopeful of success in the Lothians because of the popularity of similar events, like the New Year Loony Dook at South Queensferry.

“For whatever reason it’s just not happened,” said Ms Bashford.

“I don’t know what we’ll do in future years; it seems to work everywhere else. We took out our adverts, sent things to local businesses and even spoke to sailing clubs.”

Yet community activist Paul Lambie believes that the event lacked public awareness: “It is surprising that they didn’t get a single entry.

“I would have done it if I’d known about it, so perhaps publicity is an issue.

“I’m also surprised they picked Boxing Day. January 1 would be the more natural choice.”

Edinburgh will, however, get a chance to redeem itself on New Year’s Day when hundreds are expected to do the “Loony Dook” swim in the Forth.

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