A POPULAR Christmas Day charity swim has hit choppy water this year by claims it has become too commercialised.
The event in Coverack has become famous and a couple of years ago attracted celebrity Russell Brand to take part.
As many as 160 people plunged into the freezing waters of the bay last year to raise money for Cancer Research UK. But this year, people have been invited to register and pay £5 and then raise sponsorship of £50 – rules that many in Coverack said went against the spirit of the event.
The organising committee said it just wants to raise as much money for charity as possible and the new measures brought it into line with other Cancer Research UK events.
Carol Lawrence, chairwoman for the organising committee and a swimmer of 33 years in the event, said they just wanted to encourage people to raise sponsorship money.
She said no one will be stopped from taking part and the £50 sponsorship was a suggested amount.
She said: “If people register then we can make contact with them and tell them why they are raising money.
“There is no way we would stop anyone going in.”
But David Philpott, who has been swimming at the event for the past 41 years, said he had considered boycotting this year.
“I thought about it, but I’ve decided to swim as normal this year,” said the 77-year-old.
“It’s supposed to be a bit of fun and there’s no need to commercialise it to this extent. People should be allowed to just donate as much as they wish.
“We fear that if people have got to pay a certain amount and register then they will be put off coming.”
He urged anyone who wants to take part to just turn up as usual and get involved.
It begins at 12.30pm but people can register from 11am if they choose.
The swim was originally started in 1968 by four local men after a bet over a pint of beer.