2020 kicked off in the highest possible spirits thanks to the annual Allonby Dook.

The bold and the brave from Allonby and beyond took part in the squeal-filled event, with the 62-strong group running into – and back out of – the bitter sea as fast as they could.

People of all ages enjoyed turning blue for the New Year’s Day tradition, on top of raising money for Maryport Inshore Rescue, who kept everyone safe and happy throughout.

Team leader Mike Messenger said: "We're thrilled to be here to support them all – but it's definitely a 'don't try this at home' sort of thing!"

With the temperature clocking in at 9°c and the sea “supposedly slightly warmer” at 11°c, dookers were “absolutely not looking forward to running in”.

“Hairy Godmother” John Kirkbride and his lifelong friend “Piggyback Santa” John Newton, both from Maryport, were happy to be in attendance for the second and third year in a row.

“We’re big supporters of inshore rescue – they rescued me just the other day,” John N said.

“They’re Maryport’s finest!”

While the 59-year-olds were enjoying themselves, they certainly weren’t looking forward to a splash in the icy Irish sea.

“I’m not really looking forward to it, but it’ll liven us up, I suppose,” John K said. “Let’s go and face our nemesis!”

Devoted dooker 79-year-old George Proud from Allonby was dressed to the nines in his Union Jack get-up, and was glad to be back once again.

He said: “I come to support the inshore rescue, and for a bit of daftness.

“You look around and you see all of us idiots! I'll be 80 next year, but I’ll probably still be daft enough to do it then too.”

Also marching towards the sea was 51-year-old Gary Richards, who is originally from Workington but now lives in Worcester, with his daughters Polly, nine, and Martha, 11, and his sister and niece, 53-year-old Karen and 21-year-old Emily Louden.

The family were dressed as Santa and his reindeer, and were happy to be attending for the second year.

"It's a lovely event – we came last year because we thought 'let's do something daft now we're in our 50s', and it was really nice.

"Hopefully it won't be too cold – we'll let you know when we're out!"

Gill Brinicombe from Seaton joined in with the splash, accompanied by her excited border collie Rho and friend Lynn Trussell, from Crosby.

The duo were dressed as a snowman and a shark, and couldn't wait to get dry.

Gill said: "I went into the sea at Whitehaven's swim yesterday, but this was definitely a few degrees colder!"

Lynn agreed, and added with a laugh: "Normally I'll go for a little swim, but I'm not doing that today."

Allonby mum and son Pauline Lukeman, 46, and Woody, 11, were joined by friends 41-year-old Penny Grey from Aspatria and Jo Hedley from Fletchertown, and who could forget Daisy the jumper-wearing dog?

The shivering group covered every costume from a fluffy rabbit and an elf to "not getting out of your pjs since Christmas", and were thrilled to have joined in with the other dookers.

"We come to support the inshore rescue, to have a get together, and to start the New Year with a splash," Pauline said.

Penny added, commenting on the temperature of the welcoming sea: "It was the same level of horrendous as last year – think it'll be a pub crawl next year for us instead!"

And Youngster Woody managed to stop his teeth chattering long enough to let the group know "it's freezing", before they headed over to the village hall to get toasty with some hot drinks and soup.

Even with sea spray in their eyes, salt in their hair and a plastering of clouds in the sky, smiles were scattered across the faces of each and every dooker – a sign of a cracking start to the Roaring '20s.

Organisers Helen Gilmore and Joe Kewin, who donned Rudolph and Loch Ness Monster attire for this year’s dip, couldn’t be more pleased with how the splash went, which raised a brilliant £1,945.57 for Maryport Inshore Rescue.

Joe said: “All money raised goes to inshore rescue, and it’s such a good cause.

“Thank you to the rescue team for always keeping everyone safe, the helpers who are sorting hot drinks for us all, and to all the people who support us – without them it would just be me Helen running into the sea like mad people!”