If you’ve ever fancied throwing yourself into a freezing January sea, why not take the plunge this New Year?

Silly swimmers – and those who fancy a very ‘fresh’ start to 2020 – can rejoice, as the annual Allonby Dook at Maryport will once again be taking place on January 1.

With numbers growing from just a dozen four years ago to almost 70 last year, and people of all ages welcome to dive in, organisers Helen Gilmore and Joe Kewin think it would be a shame for anyone to miss out.

“It all started because Joe told me he fancied a New Year’s Day dook,” said Helen, who will be dressed as Rudolph for this year’s dip.

“When he rang me up that morning, I said ‘we’re never doing that!’, but I went along anyway and it was amazing – very life affirming.”

Fancy dress is certainly encouraged, with Joe dressing as the Loch Ness Monster with the help of three friends, and everyone from tiny tots to the wisest grandparent around is welcome.

The Allonby Dook - in its fourth year - has since become a chilly tradition in the seaside village.

As well as giving people the change to dress up or down and shoe their bravado, the “dook” is an annual fundraising event.

Fancy dress is optional for those brave souls taking the plunge.

As always, Maryport Inshore Rescue will be attending the event to keep an eye on the swimmers – and take part if they’re feeling bold enough – and all money raised from the splash-about will be donated to the rescue crew.

Event-goers last year managed to raise an impressive £1,800 for the team, which was “phenomenal”, Helen said.

“I love the event because it’s amazing for the community feel-good-factor.

“It’s really just great fun, and if we can raise money for a good cause, then why not do it?”

She added: “I should warn people – a dip in the freezing sea can be a bit risky, so make sure you’re prepared if you’re going in!”

Allonby Village Hall will be open from 11am for registration and to be used as changing rooms.

People will be in the water by 12pm ready for a photo opportunity with the swim expected to end at 1pm.

For sponsorship forms or more information, ring Helen on 07471 735331 or Joe on 01900 881308, or visit the Allonby Bay Dook Facebook page.