Portobello Boxing Day charity swim cancelled as not a single soul signs up

PORTOBELLO has developed a reputation for saying ‘no’. ‘No’ to new schools, ‘no’ to new supermarkets, ‘no’ to new homes.

Now the residents of Edinburgh’s Seaside have shunned a Boxing Day dip in the name of charity – en masse.

Clic Sargent had hoped its Dip in the Sea would have hundreds of locals blowing out the Christmas cobwebs with a bracing dip on Portobello Beach yesterday morning. But orgnaisers were shocked and disappointed when not a single person signed up for the quirky fundraiser and the festive dip was axed.

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The event was meant to raise thousands of pounds for the children’s charity but yesterday Porty was desolate while at beaches across Scotland similar events were attended by thousands – including 400 people at Prestwick Beach.

Event manager Emma Bashford said: “I just can’t understand it.

“We had to cancel when we realised no-one had signed up, but everything’s been done the same in Portobello as elsewhere.

“We’ve got loads of interest at Prestwick, there are four different ones in Orkney, one at Stonehaven, one at Leven and at Rothesay.

“The idea was to cover as much of the coastline as possible, but it just hasn’t happened in Portobello.”

Her spirits were briefly lifted yesterday morning when a caller enquired about Portobello – but they merely wanted to spectate.

When the idea was floated last month, the charity said it hoped around 100 people would turn out.

Each would have had to raise at least £100, raising a minimum of £10,000 altogether.

The concept began in Ayrshire six years ago and has grown.

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Organisers were particularly hopeful of success in the Lothians because of the popularity of similar events, such as the New Year Loony Dook at South Queensferry.

But Ms Bashford added: “For whatever reason it’s just not happened. I don’t know what we’ll do in future years, it seems to work everywhere else. We took out adverts, sent things to local businesses and even spoke to sailing clubs.”

Money raised would have helped support children with cancer across Scotland, and their families.

Local community activist Paul Lambie said: “It is surprising that they didn’t get a single entry.

“I would have done it if I’d known about it, so perhaps publicity is an issue. I’m also surprised they picked Boxing Day. January 1 would be the more natural choice.”

Staff at the Espy bar on Portobello Promenade said business had been brisk all day and temperatures hadn’t been too cold.

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