Angie heads up Breast Cancer Now Isle of Man Group, which has raised almost £2 million over 30 years. The IOM Group has held a fundraising dip for the past 15 years. 

Hundreds of people of different ages dressed in swim shorts and swim costumes braving the cold Isle of Man waters at Christmas

What is your connection to breast cancer?

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and joined the Breakthrough Breast Cancer IOM Group in 2003.  

Our Group [which was renamed Breast Cancer Now IOM Group in 2015] is 30 years old this year and we’ve raised £1.9 million over these years. I’ve led the Group since 2005. 

Why did you start your New Year’s Day dips? 

A small group of people advised us they were going to do a one-off sponsored sea dip for our charity on New Year’s Day 15 years ago. We went to join them by dipping and supporting them.

We continued running the dips from the following year onwards. More than 230 people dipped last year! 

Many people dip in big groups around the island - it’s fun, cold and a real challenge. Many spectators come too. 

What preparation is required?

We check with our coastguards early in the morning that the weather is okay. The police and the local government event safety team are briefed beforehand, and the risk assessment and insurance forms are completed and submitted in advance.

We arrive at the beach an hour early to set up tables and buckets, and to check the beach for any debris. We set up the tables for checking-in the ‘dippers’ who’ve entered online, and provide them with a numbered wrist band.  

Also, we ensure the arrival of the St John Ambulance before the event starts, and we provide hot drinks to all the dippers, coastguard members and first-aiders after the dip. 

What’s your favourite part about the day? 

My favourite part is when everyone has safely returned from the water and they’re enjoying a hot drink on the promenade, with lots of smiles and laughter around us.  

How do you fundraise for the dips? 

There’s no entry fee, and we receive donations at the point of sign up. Spectators also donate in buckets, and sponsorship may be gained via a sponsor form or the JustGiving social platform.  

At a guess, I’d say that to date with the dips alone we’ve raised around £10,000 to 12,000, maybe more.

Hundreds of people of different ages dressed in swim attire and fancy dress braving the cold Isle of Man waters at Christmas

What would you say to anyone looking to organise a sponsored dip? 

Do your homework, as risk assessments and insurance need to be signed off by Breast Cancer Now’s head office. Speak to the coastguards, police and trained first-aiders, and on the day, know how many dippers went into the water and ensure that they all safely come back out.

Make sure you have plenty of helpers too. Our coastguards form a semi-circle in the sea and ensure that no one swims past them - safety is paramount.

It can be a good idea to invite a hot drinks trailer vendor to sell drinks and snacks to spectators, and to invite spectators, in return, to make a donation.  

You might like to invite a well-known person from the community to start your dip, and doing so could help to generate more publicity for your event. We had our Lieutenant Governor, Sir John and Lady Lorimer start our dip last year – and they dipped too. 

Feeling inspired to hold your own charity dip for Breast Cancer Now? Get in touch today by signing up for your free fundraising pack.

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