Polar Bear Plungers are praised for charity dip in aid of St Albans charities
- Credit: Archant
Temperatures of just 4°C greeted the 300 plucky plungers who jumped into a swimming pool for St Albans’ fifth Polar Bear Plunge.
Once again the venue for the charity fundraiser was The St Albans Sub Aqua Club (SASAC), with the beneficiaries from this year's event Earthworks and Small Acts of Kindness.
St Albans Mayor Cllr Janet Smith, recently elected MP Daisy Cooper MP and Hertfordshire Year of Culture's mascot YOCI, launched the plunge on New Year's Day.
Plungers included an Earthworker, a chicken, a banana, a family of rainbows, a hot dog, a Stormtrooper, a doctor and a mutiny of pirates! A pair of penguins jumped wrapped in plastic, highlighting the problems of plastic pollution. Thor and his hammer flew horizontally through the air before splash down. Mums, dads, kids, grandmas and grandads, workmates and sports teams bravely plunged together, and all were rewarded with hot chocolate and marshmallows, a warm shower - and deafening cheers from spectators.
In its 25th anniversary year, much-loved local charity Earthworks St Albans has taken on the role of organising the plunge, with all profits going to local charities. Earthworks teaches horticulture to people with learning disabilities - known as Earthworkers - in their three acres of eco-gardens in St Albans. This year's guest charity is Small Acts of Kindness which was founded in 2014 by Lynne Misner to tackle loneliness and isolation among older people in the cold winter months.
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Earthworker Jonathan said after his chilling dip: "I enjoyed plunging and raising money for the charities. I dressed as a Mexican wrestler but I didn't hear the cheering because I was concentrating on swimming in the cold water! I'd recommend it for anyone to jump in 2021."
Kate Mackay of Earthworks said: "St Albans has risen to the occasion yet again. Earthworks was thrilled to leap into our 25th anniversary year with the community of St Albans. Huge thanks to everyone who plunged and cheered, and to the many volunteers and supporters of the Plunge. We look forward to an even bigger, more spectacular event next year!"
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Compering the plunge was Total Legacy Care's Neil Barras-Smith, who plunged while solving a Rubik's Cube.
Striking Places provided photography, Shot on the Spot supplied refreshments and the raffle was sponsored by, among others, Eyes on St Albans, Blissfully Organised and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. Digital Jen and My Mustard gave promotional support.