A LEAP of faith by 200 hardy harbour plungers will see three charities make great strides forward in their work.
The Burghead Boxing Day Swim attracted a record number of swimmers and has smashed all previous fundraising records by realising £35,000.
That meant a bumper £18,000 cheque for the Moray Friends of ARCHIE appeal to refurbish the children’s ward at Dr Gray’s Hospital.
Added to more than £3,600 donated by swimmers online, the children’s ward refurbishment will receive a total £21,600 boost from the festive event.
And with other two nominated charities, CLAN Elgin and Maggies Cancer Care Centre in Inverness, each receiving £6,000, it was the most successful swim in the event’s 28 year history. Other money still to come in will see the final total top the £35,000 mark.
Swim chairman Calum MacDougall was the 200th participant to take the plunge, jumping in alongside co-founder Russell Main.
Said Calum: "It was a fantastic event and we will be lucky to ever top that again. However, we will have our 30th anniversary in two years time and it would be nice to raise a lot of money again for the charities.
"The two secondary charities this year have got more than the main charities have in recent years."
Pat Bray, of CLAN Elgin, said the £6,000 would go to support cancer patients in Moray, providing therapies, help with transport and other services.
"We weren’t expecting to get this much money so this is a really great amount," she added.
Ian Hallam, from Inverness, collected a similar cheque on behalf of Maggies, where he received support four years ago for cancer.
Ian, who has been given the all clear, said: "This is wonderful and will do a great deal of good."
And Faith Houlding, who accepted the £18,000 cheque on behalf of Moray Friends of ARCHIE, said: "This is a fantastic way to end the appeal and means we will have raised over £130,000 for the refurbishment of the children’s ward.
"We have to say a big thank you to all the swimmers and the committee for all their hard work in putting on such a wonderful event."