Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Gosport New Year's Day dip cancelled due to gales

New Year's Day Dip 2013
Image caption This year the event raised money for 33 local and national charities

A New Year's Day charity dip in Hampshire has been cancelled for the first time in more than 30 years after the Met Office forecast severe gales.

The event, which is organised by Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS), was due to start at midday at the Gosport lifeboat station.

Winds of up to 70mph (112km/h) are expected in the South and South West.

GAFIRS said it was "most unsuitable" to go ahead with the event, which this year attracted 301 entrants.

'Safety main priority'

Mike Allen, operational vice chairman of GAFIRS, said the event had been running since the late 1970s and usually attracted people in fancy dress.

"Some go for a quick dip, others go for a longer swim," he said.

This year's event raised money for 33 local and national charities, including £2,500 for GAFIRS.

The independent lifeboat service said it realised groups and individuals planning to take part would be disappointed but added "the safety of all the intended participants is the main priority".

It also urged people planning to take to the water not to do so of their own accord.

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