Leven’s Boxing Day dip runs aground

A group of last year's Boxing Day dip revellers at Leven - not enough to make it viable  in 2015 (picture by George McLuskie)
A group of last year's Boxing Day dip revellers at Leven - not enough to make it viable in 2015 (picture by George McLuskie)
  • No Leven dip
  • Charity pulls out
  • Low turnout last year

Leven’s annual Boxing Day Dip, a colourful festive season fixture on the town’s calender for the last seven years, has been axed.

The freezing fancy dress frolics in the Forth, to raise money for a children’s cancer charity, will not be going ahead this year.

It’s a shame – we don’t want to lose it.

Deirdre Curley

The main reason was last year’s relatively low turnout – of just over a dozen thrillseekers – and the desire for the organiser, CLIC Sargent, to re-evaluate its priorities, against the costs it incurred and the levels of support for other events held around the country on its behalf.

Fundraising manager for Central Scotland, Deirdre Curley said it would be “really sad” to lose the event, but CLIC Sargent felt it had to weigh up the costs of organising and promoting the event, travelling to Leven, and paying for medical and safety cover, against the reality of a low response, while there had also been very few enquiries about the event this year from Levenmouth.

While speculating that the Leven occasion may simply have had its day, it was possible the area had suffered from the level of competition presented by other charity events taking place in other areas around the festive season.

Deirdre said CLIC Sargent, which was still staging events in Central Scotland, was immenseley grateful to everyone who has supported the Leven dip over the years, from the revellers themselves to those who made donations or contributed in any other way.

“It’s a shame – we don’t want to lose it but, at the same time, we are a charity which has to invest time and money in the right places,” said Deirdre.

Since the Leven event started in 2008, a regular crowd of core participants in a very imaginative range of fancy dress costumes used to run into the Forth and splash about for a few minutes, to gather money for CLIC Sargent, with the Caledonian Hotel latterly providing warm surroundings and hot snacks for the ‘dippers’.

The event was also watched enthusiastically by a large crowd which gathered at the beach and the Promenade car park opposite Church Road, and helped boost the total through the Just Giving page or bucket collections.

Over the years, it attracted glowing praise for the level of local support and looked as if it would be a firm long-term Christmas attraction in the town.

Each year brought a mixture of first-time participants and seasoned ‘dippers’, a number of whom had personal or family reasons for supporting the venture.

In 2013, around 40 registered revellers took part – but last year, that number had dropped to around 15, while the spectacle hadn’t quite managed to attract the previous number of onlookers either.

Meanwhile, the East Neuk Dook, in which courageous souls leap into the Forth from the pier at Anstruther Harbour, is going ahead as normal on December 26.