A LACK of lifesavers has caused the traditional new year’s day dip in Bognor Regis to be scrapped.
Organiser Richard Johns said he had reluctantly made the decision because he was unwilling to go ahead without any safety cover.
“The event has been run over very many years but, these days, we need to be very aware of risks and, in our opinion, no charity event is worth injury to any participant,” said Mr Johns, of Bognor Regis Lions Club.
“It doesn’t feel safe to be holding the event without any lifeguards in the water.
“It is a shame because charities and good causes will lose out from the loss of sponsorship but no event, no matter how worthy, is worth risking life and limb.”
The event was begun by the Lions more than 40 years ago.
Those who have taken part have raised thousands of pounds for charities.
Mr Johns was aware of a large entry of 15-20 from Bognor Regis Swimming Club due to take part tomorrow (January 1).
The dip was held on the foreshore in front of Bognor Regis Yacht Club in Victoria Road South.
The dip has occasionally been called off in recent years. It failed to take place in 2005 and was not held officially in 2008, though a handful of dippers staged an informal event.
Mr Johns said the lifeguards from Worthing who had provided cover in the water for many years had been unable to join in for 2015.
“They have been such a help to us. We are really grateful for what they have done.
“I have been unable to find anyone else to take over, though that might be because I’ve not been looking in the right places.
“I left it as long as possible before I called off the dip but I couldn’t leave it any later.
“It could be that someone will now come forward to help us so we can re-start the dip in 2016.
“We are keen to do that but we must have the right safety cover.”
But he said they must be able to use aqualungs in case a dipper got into difficulties.
Anyone who can help should contact Mr Johns on 01243 262240.